China is stepping up its renewables investments to pursue its net-zero target by 2060, with investors and businesses focusing increasingly on finance and technology as the expansion gathers pace, an audience at CERAWeek held by S&P Global heard.

The Chinese government is aiming to ramp up solar and wind power capacity to 1200 gigawatts by 2030, but Yang Lei, vice of president of Peking University’s China Energy Research Institute, said this is going to be achieved in 2026.

Last year, China’s total renewable power generation capacity reached 758.05 GW, including 365.44 GW of wind power and 392.61 GW of solar power.

Momentum is gearing up for wind and solar power generation capacity, Yang said, adding that currently the country is installing an average of 150 GW of wind and solar power capacity per annum.

Last year, China installed 6.8 gigawatts of offshore wind capacity in Chinese waters, which is more than two-thirds of new offshore wind hardware brought into operation around the world in 2022, he said.

Yang added that this was achieved even though the government stopped subsidising offshore wind projects in 2022.

Lu Ruquan, president of the Economics & Technology Research Institute, a think tank under the wing of China National Petroleum Corporation, said Chinese oil demand is expected to peak in 2030 as electrification proceeds.

By the end of last year, CNPC had captured and stored 5 million tonnes of carbon dixoide, and expects this number to jump due to fast-falling costs for carbon capture and storage, he added.

Currently, China consumes about 700 million tonnes of petroleum a year, with 70% coming from imports.

China aims to reach peak emissions of CO2 by 2030 and carbon neutrality by 2060.

“We have challenges, but that doesn’t mean we are not on track,” Yang Lei said.

Wang Guanghui, general manager of China’s State Grid Energy Research Institute, argued that China is right to continue tapping coal resources in the interest of energy security. Last year, China approved dozens of new coal mining projects with capacity totalling 66 GW.