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China To Launch New Renewable Energy Pilot Scheme For Rural Areas

China is pressing ahead with plans to accelerate the already rapid rollout of renewable energy by developing clean energy in rural areas under a new action plan unveiled by authorities on Thursday.

China’s provincial governments are expected to identify ‘pilot counties’, areas they consider suitable for renewable energy deployment, and submit plans for development to the National Energy Administration (NEA) by the end of May, the NEA said in a statement carried by Reuters.

China is unmatched in renewable energy spending globally, investing in raising its solar and wind power generation.  

China’s wind and solar power generation has jumped in recent years to nearly equal domestic residential electricity consumption, but the relatively small share of household demand in overall consumption means that China still needs a lot of fossil fuels.

In 2022, China’s wind and solar power output surged by 21% to 1,190 terawatt-hours (TWh), according to data from NEA cited by Bloomberg. To compare, residential electricity demand last year rose by 14% to 1,340 TWh as people mostly stayed at home due to the zero-Covid policy.  

Despite the surge in Chinese wind and solar power installations and generation, the Chinese industry accounts for around 60% of all electricity demand, according to Bloomberg’s estimates. Residential demand, on the other hand, was just 17% of electricity consumption in 2020.

China is speeding up the rollout of solar and wind capacity additions, and it is likely that it will hit its 2030 renewable energy target earlier than planned, South China Morning Post reported earlier this year. At least 30 Chinese provinces have unveiled more ambitious renewable installation programs.

China’s renewable power installations will continue to see robust growth this year after the jump in capacity additions in 2022 on strong demand, lower raw-material costs, and a low-base effect for wind power, Fitch Ratings said in a report in February.  

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By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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