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Investments in the Chinese power sector are set to top $13.9 trillion (100 trillion Chinese yuan) by 2060, Xinhua news agency reported on Monday, quoting the State Grid Corporation of China.
China has pledged to achieve net-zero emissions by 2060 and to see a peak in its carbon emissions by the end of this decade.
“The development of a new power system will promote the expansion of the scale of both the power industry and the power market,” the Chinese news agency quoted a book published by the State Grid Corporation of China last week.
China is the global leader in renewable energy spending, but it’s also one of just a few major economies still approving and building coal-fired capacity. Energy security and the need for stable power generation during peak demand to back the growing economy and supply stability precede concerns about emissions.
China has already reached its goal to have more non-fossil fuel installed electricity capacity than fossil fuels earlier than planned, with 50.9% of its power capacity now coming from non-fossil fuel sources. Back in 2021, the Chinese authorities said they would target renewables to outpace fossil fuel-installed capacity by 2025.
China is globally unmatched in renewable energy spending, investing in raising its solar and wind power capacity.
So far this year, renewables have helped to partially offset the crippled supply from hydropower generation due to droughts, but coal has saved the day.
China is relying on coal to avoid blackouts as the economy reopened after the Covid lockdowns. During the first half of this year, coal production, coal imports, and coal-fired electricity generation surged and offset a significant decline in power output at China’s massive hydropower capacity due to insufficient rainfall and drought.
During the first half of 2023 alone, China approved more than 50 GW of new coal power, Greenpeace said in a report last month. That’s more than it did in all of 2021, the environmental campaign group added.
By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com
Tsvetana is a writer for Oilprice.com with over a decade of experience writing for news outlets such as iNVEZZ and SeeNews.