Renewables could attract investments of up to $782 billion in the country
The rapid economic growth combined with the heavy use of fossil fuels has resulted in severe air pollution in China, however a new report published by Greenpeace East Asia and industry associations and research groups shows that the country’s rapid transition to clean power is not only viable, but also socially and economically beneficial. The country has committed to reduce its dependence on hydrocarbons and increase the share of renewable energy sources in its total energy consumption by at least 15% by 2020 and 20% by 2030. According to the report, China will have to increase its wind and solar power’s share of primary energy consumption to 17% by 2030 – compared to just 4% in 2015, in order to achieve this goal.
The National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) with its “five-year plan” for the period 2016-2020 aims to raise total wind generation capacity from 129 GW in 2015 to more than 210 GW in 2020 and solar power from 43.18 GW to 110 GW over the same period. The first results are impressive, as China’s solar power capacity almost doubled in 2016, reaching a total of 77.42 GW installed solar capacity, whereas wind power grew 13.2% from 2015 to 2016 reaching a total of 149 GW.
New investments and environmental benefits
While wind and solar investments in the country amounted to 400 billion yuan in 2015, these sectors could receive up to 5.4 trillion yuan ($782 billion) in investments from 2016 to 2030, says the report and by the end of this period, these two industries are estimated to be worth 1.57 trillion yuan ($227.4 billion) combined. Also, in 2030 alone, 456 billion yuan in external environmental benefits will arise from the two industries as a result of the replacement of standard coal consumption. More specifically, the burning of 300 million tonnes of standard coal could be prevented and 3.6 billion m3 of water could be saved each year by 2030.
Source: Climate Action Programme