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Xi Jinping, China’s President, this weekend announced more ambitious emissions-cutting targets for the next ten years as well as new targets for renewable energy production, Reuters reports.
Speaking at the virtual UN summit on climate change, which took place on Saturday, Xi said China would increase its installed solar and wind capacity to more than 1,200 GW by 2030, boosting the share of non-fossil fuels in its energy mix to a quarter of the total. This is up from an earlier target of 20 percent for renewables in China’s energy mix. For context, at the end of 2019, renewables accounted for 15.2 percent of the country’s energy mix.
As for solar and wind capacity, China’s total stood at 414 GW at the end of last year. By the end of this year, Beijing plans to have 240 GW in wind capacity and the same amount of solar capacity, according to Reuters.
The solar capacity target has already been achieved after China added some 40 GW in new capacity this year, despite the pandemic. The country’s solar power generation capacity has increased fivefold over the past five years and could double over the next five years, according to the vice-chairman of the China Photovoltaic Industry Association.
For wind, China is still the world leader, adding 18.29 GW of new capacity this year, up by 3.63 GW from last year’s new additions, Xinhua reported recently.
Despite this no doubt huge progress, coal still accounts for as much as 58 percent of China’s energy mix. If the country wants to accomplish its climate targets, it will need to close all coal power plants operating without a carbon capture system by 2045, researchers from Energy Foundation China said in a recent report.
“Through an immediate halt of new construction of coal-fired power plants, rapid retirements of a small portion of old, dirty, inefficient coal plants in the near term, and gradually reduced utilization for operating plants, China can phase out coal power generation without CCUS by around 2040-2045, when the majority of existing plants reach a 30- year lifetime,” the researchers wrote.
By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com
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Irina is a writer for Oilprice.com with over a decade of experience writing on the oil and gas industry.