China’s rampant expansion of its renewable energy capacity continued during the first half of 2021 as the country marches towards a goal of carbon neutrality by 2060.
Recent data released by the country’s energy watchdog, the National Energy Administration (NEA), shows the country's renewable energy capacity is growing by leaps and bounds.
In the first half this year, the country raised its renewable energy-fired power generation capacity by 4%, compared with end of last year, to 971 gigawatts.
This figure includes 281GW of onshore wind power, 11.13GW of offshore wind power, 268GW of solar power, 378GW of hydropower and 32.1GW of bio power.
Over the first half of 2021, China's renewable energy generation reached 1.06 trillion kilowatt hours, the NEA said without giving a comparative figure.
Of that total, 344.18 billion Kwhs was produced via wind turbines, up by 44.6%; solar generated 157.6 billion Kwhs, up 23.4%; bio energy units churned out 77.95 billion Kwhs, up 26.6%; and 482.7 billion Kwhs was produced by hydro.
The NEA didn’t report on the status of the country’s gas-fired power generation, but according China Electricity Council, by the end of last year, China owned and operated 98.02GW of gas-fired power generation, which accounts for about 5% of China’s total power generation capacity. These turbines produced 248.5 billion Kwhs of electricity last year, which is about 3% of the national total.
Ding Zhimin, the former deputy director of the Policy & Law Department of the National Energy Administration, said that coal, which now accounts for 58% of China’s power generation, will be replaced by renewable energy — led by wind and solar — which will eventually account for more than 85% of China's total energy mix by 2060, up from the 15% forecast last year.
China's national plan calls for further raising the country's total installed capacity of wind and solar power to over 1200 GW by 2030.
These efforts form part of the government strategy to achieve peak carbon emissions by 2030 and carbon neutrality in 2060.