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China Set To Add 140 GW Renewable Energy Capacity In 2021

China is expected to add 140 gigawatts (GW) of renewable energy power generation this year as its electricity consumption continues to grow, according to forecasts from the China Electricity Council (CEC) cited by Reuters.

Total new capacity additions are expected at 180 GW, the CEC said in its forecasts.

Last year, China added 190.87 GW of new power generation capacity, of which 133 GW was renewable electricity in the form of hydropower, wind power, and solar power, the CEC said last month. New hydropower capacity additions totaled 13.23 GW, wind power additions soared to 71.67 GW, and newly-installed solar capacity reached 48.2 GW in 2020, the data from the CEC showed.

China’s renewable capacity additions in 2020 hit a record high, thanks to a surprising surge in wind capacity additions, data compiled by Bloomberg showed. The previous record for new capacity additions was set in 2017, with 83 GW installed that year, according to BloombergNEF data.

The reported new wind and solar installations were so high that analysts told Bloomberg that China might have changed the way it calculates installed capacity by counting the entire capacity of partially installed projects at the end of last year.

This year, electricity demand in China is set to rise by 6-7 percent compared to last year, when the 7.51 trillion kilowatt-hours (kWh) of electricity used was up by 3.1 percent compared to 2019.

China is advancing its renewable capacity installations as it aims to see peak emissions by 2030 and become a carbon-neutral economy by 2060.

At the same time, however, China is not kicking its coal addiction and continues to commission coal-fired power capacity to meet rising domestic demand.

“China should continue expanding production capacity at advanced coal mines in order to increase domestic coal capacity reserves, so that it can cope with a demand rally amid economic recovery and weather changes,” Reuters quoted the CEC as saying in its forecast.

This winter, China has restricted electricity in some provinces due to coal shortages amid a cold snap and an ongoing trade spat with Australia.

By Charles Kennedy for Oilprice.com

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