Dave Elliott: China is leading the pack with more renewable energy capacity installed (around 550 GW in 2016) than any other country, with some major projects, and more investment than anyone else. It is also shutting coal plants, in part as a response to the massive air quality problems that emerged after its breakneck economic expansion based mainly on coal. As noted in my earlier post on China, the National Energy Administration claims that: ‘between 2016 and 2020, we plan to halt construction or suspend building of new power plants with a total capacity of 150 GW, and shut down 20 GW of outdated capacity’. The nation is also experimenting with a carbon market. Clearly it wants to get on top of the carbon problem, although that may mean it just imports more gas, which also offers a partial and short-term response to the air pollution issues. The more sustainable option is of course to expand renewables. Hydro remains the largest renewable (at around 350 GW), but in terms of new renewables, wind has led the way, with over 170 GW installed by 2017 (GWEC data), although PV is now catching up with over 120 GW in place. There are some impressive solar projects on land and also on lakes: China’s largest floating PV array so far is 40 MW, but a 150 MW project is underway. Though recently the growth of PV has been slowing. China is still also seeking to expanding its nuclear programme from its current 3.9% (from 35.7 GW) to maybe around 6% (with 58 GW) by 2020. That seems unlikely to be achieved by 2020, given recent delays, but the programme is certainly very ambitious in global terms, although it has to be put in perspective.
Physics World 6th June 2018 read more »
China eyes role as world’s power supplier. Beijing promotes global electricity network to absorb huge power surpluses.
FT 7th June 2018 read more »