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China’s renewables end year on high note

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Renewables now account for 17.6 per cent of China’s power production, government data showed this week.

The country’s total installed generation capacity is predicted to reach 1.77 TWh by the end of this year according to government sources, with renewables accounting for 38 per cent.

And its power output is expected to hit 3.6 billion tonnes of coal equivalent this year, with renewables accounting for 17.6 per cent.

The country’s newly-installed renewable capacity represents 40 per cent of global growth according to Nur Bekri, head of the National Energy Administration (NEA).

Under the terms of the 2015 Paris climate agreement, the nation has pledged to grow the share of renewables in its energy mix from 13 per cent in 2016 to 20 per cent in 2020 and over 40 per cent by 2030.

The government’s efforts against pollution have seen it move full-speed ahead on renewables this year, with consultancy EY placing it at the top of its renewable energy country attractiveness index after it overtook the US in May.

Among its anti-pollution moves, China has unveiled plans for replacing coal-fired heating in its northern region with cleaner energy sources including gas, solar PV, biomass, geothermal, waste-to-energy and clean coal. The plan aims to move 50 per cent of residential heating in the country’s north to cleaner energy sources by 2019 and 70 per cent by 2021, with plans for district heating networks also in the works.

To support this drive while avoiding domestic gas shortages during the winter months, China’s liquefied natural gas (LNG) imports from the US alone have jumped from zero in November 2016 to 407,000 metric tonnes in the same month this year.

The country also has big plans for other low-carbon solutions, such as the 20 floating nuclear power plants planned by China National Nuclear Power Corp (CNNC). 

But despite its drive to sideline coal, a report from the Paris-based Institute for Sustainable Development and International Relations found in November that the nation is set to add another 120 GW of coal-fired power capacity by 2020. China could face $90bn in stranded assets by 2030 if current investments are allowed to go ahead.

A newly announced carbon trading scheme is not scheduled to come into play until 2019 or 2020. 

 

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