China targets 11% solar and wind in power mix in 2021

Image: Joshua Doubek/Wikimedia Commons

China’s government has signalled it will aim to deploy enough solar and wind power generation this year to make up 11% of the country’s total power mix, according to its power planning agency the National Energy Administration (NEA).

President Xi Jinping said on Monday (19 April) China will seek to increase its solar and wind energy capacity to around 1.2TW by the end of the year as the government seeks to bring carbon emissions to a peak in the same time, and become carbon neutral by 2060. This would help bring the proportion of non-fossil fuels in China’s energy supply to 25% by the end of the decade.

The wind and solar power target marks a rise from the 9.5% share both resources had in the power mix last year, with solar accounting for 3.4% of this.

The NEA said in its draft proposal this week that solar and wind power generation would need to increase year-on-year until 2025 to reach 16.5% of the power mix, asking renewables developers to accelerate their construction plans and local network operators to guarantee grid connection for new clean power plants coming online. The proposal will be circulated for opinion until 25 April.

As part of the government’s mission to scale up renewables, the NEA has said it will establish a “diversified guarantee mechanism” to help more projects win access to the grid.

This comes two months after the central government forced regional grid operators to increase their minimum power purchase from renewable power systems. The NEA also set a goal for renewable energy to make up more than half of total installed power capacity in China by 2025 earlier this month.

China installed 48.2GW of solar PV capacity last year, according to figures from the NEA, which identified a sharp spike of new solar installs in December, while analysts at BloombergNEF believe the country could reach 4.2TW of solar by mid-century, but given both its energy demand and emissions are both still on the rise, it will be “no small feat” for the country to reach its emission reduction targets.

The Chinese government has ramped up financial support for solar companies this year in a bid to accelerate deployment, with the People’s Bank of China unveiling a raft of measures targeting solar and wind developers last month to promote “rapid development” of new projects.

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