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China Starts Work On The World’s Largest Desert-Based Renewable Energy Project

China has broken ground on a renewable energy project worth an estimated $11 billion in the province of Inner Mongolia.

According to a Bloomberg report, the project will have a capacity of 16 GW and produce some 40 billion kWh of electricity to Beijing and the provinces of Tianjin and Hebei. The project will combine solar, wind, and upgraded coal power, and is set to become the largest renewable energy project in a desert region.

The Kubuqi Desert, where the project will be located, is already home to a massive solar farm comprising 196,000 panels on 1.4 million square meters. The project has already generated some 2.3 billion kWh, according to Chinese media reports.

China is the country with the greatest wind and solar generation capacity and it has one of the most ambitious investment programs for renewables, despite its still-heavy reliance on fossil fuels.

As of 2021, China’s renewable power generation capacity stood at 1,063 GW and represented close to 45 percent of the country’s total generation capacity. Per government plans, China should be producing 33 percent of its electricity from renewable sources by 2025 and it is close to that target, with the figure for 2021 at 29.4 percent.

Plans are to expand wind and solar capacity to 1,200 GW by 2030, Reuters reported earlier this year, as Beijing plans peak emissions by that year. Currently, China is the world’s biggest emitter of greenhouse gases.

Besides being the world’s largest wind and solar power generator, China also dominates the market for solar panel components, particularly panels, and is on an international expansion path with its wind energy technology.

This dominance has put Europe and the U.S. on high alert as political relations between these two and China have not been the best lately. As a result, both the EU and the U.S. are trying to reduce their dependence on China in renewable energy but with few alternatives readily available, it would be a difficult task.

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By Charles Kennedy for Oilprice.com

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