China will Surpass its RE Targets, Five Years Ahead of Schedule
China’s remarkable progress in renewable energy development puts it on track to meet its 2030 clean electricity target five years ahead of schedule, with solar capacity surpassing the rest of the world combined.
China has strengthened its position as a global frontrunner in renewable energy development and is poised to exceed its own ambitious energy targets, according to a report by Global Energy Monitor (1). The country is on track to achieve its goal of doubling its wind and solar power capacity, reaching a staggering 1,200 gigawatts by 2025, a milestone that was originally set for 2030. With ongoing projects and expansions in the pipeline, China’s renewable energy dominance shows no signs of slowing down.
China’s Accelerated Solar and Wind Power Expansion
China’s remarkable growth in renewable energy is exemplified by its solar and wind power expansion. In terms of solar capacity, China has made significant strides, particularly in provinces like Shanxi, Xinjiang, and Hebei. It’s ambitious plans for an additional 379 gigawatts of solar capacity under construction, w triple that of the United States and nearly double that of Europe.
The wind power sector in China has also undergone substantial progress. The country’s combined onshore and offshore wind capacity has surpassed 310 gigawatts, doubling its 2017 level and rivaling the combined capacity of the next seven leading countries. With further wind power projects planned in regions such as Inner Mongolia, Xinjiang, Gansu, and coastal areas, China aims to add another 371 gigawatts by 2025, effectively increasing the global wind fleet by almost half.
China’s RE Market’s Challenge and Potential
While China’s advancements in renewable energy are commendable, the country still faces challenges in efficiently transporting this clean energy to areas of high demand. Currently, China’s grid organization incentivizes the construction of coal plants near renewable energy generators. As a consequence, a significant portion of the newly added renewable capacity remains disconnected from local energy supply and is often bundled with coal power for transmission to areas with higher demand. Unfortunately, the approval of more coal power projects in the first quarter of 2023 has already surpassed the total approvals for the entire year of 2021 (1).
China’s prioritized investments in energy storage and green technologies are crucial for overcoming transmission challenges, fully harnessing its renewable potential, and shaping the future of corporate renewable energy procurement. As the country continues to invest in research and development, breakthroughs in energy storage solutions and innovative green technologies are expected, an enticing opportunity for businesses to embrace renewable energy procurement strategies.
Impact on Corporates
China’s rapid progress in the renewable energy sector solidifies its position as a global leader in clean energy, and surpasses its own targets and features solar capacity greater than the rest of the world combined. While these strides in renewable electricity generation present an opportunity for businesses, it is important to emphasize that a complete transition from coal is imperative for China to solidify its position as a global clean energy leader. As the world’s largest consumer of coal(2), China’s commitment to phasing out coal and investing in cleaner energy sources will play a vital role in achieving its sustainability goals.
For corporates with own operations or supply chain in China, these statistics are encouraging and will surely support decarbonization goals via the transition to renewables in the country. However, challenges remain around ensuring credibility of the renewable energy sourcing, and the risk of double counting. It is essential that corporates employ mechanisms that ensure accurate verification and reporting of renewable energy consumption, in alignment with globally recognized Sustainability Standards.
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