China's Sinopec has issued 1.1 billion yuan (US$169 million) in bonds to fund its renewable energy development as the company rolls out ambitious plans to boost investments in clean energy.

The world’s largest refiner is the most aggressive among China’s national oil companies in the pursuit of green development and is aiming for net zero carbon emission by 2050, 10 years ahead of the government target.

It is also one of the seven Chinese state-owned energy companies to issue carbon-neutral bonds with proceeds totalling 18.2 billion yuan this year.

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The proceeds raised through the three-year bond will be used to finance more than 70 renewable energy projects covering, wind, solar and geothermal, Sinopec said.

When commissioned, these projects will cut carbon dioxide emissions by 362,800 tonnes per annum, sulphur dioxide emissions by 93 tonnes and nitrogen oxide emissions by 98 tonnes, as well as saving 156,200 tonnes of coal usage.

Sinopec is China’s largest developer of geothermal projects, which supply heat to 50 million square metres in northern China, accounting for 30% of China’s total space with heat supplied by geothermal projects.

The company expects to build 700 distributed photovoltaic generation stations during the current five-year economic planning period covering 2021 through 2025.

Sinopec has just launched its first wind energy project development, partnering with local wind project developer Dali Xinsheng Energy in northern China’s Shaanxi province to build a 20 megawatt wind farm with eight turbines, each with capacity of 2.5MW.

When commissioned, the 160 million yuan project will able to produce 45 million kilowatt hours of electricity, cut CO2 emission by 35,502 tonnes per annum, SO2 by 258 tpa and NO2 by 387 tpa.

Pilot CCUS project

The company also aims to reduce its methane emissions from oil and gas production by 50% by 2025 and has started a pilot programme to build a carbon capture, utilisation and storage base in eastern China’s Jiangsu province with capacity to capture 1 million tonnes of CO2.

Other energy companies that have issued green bonds this year are mostly power utilities including China Three Gorges, one of China’s largest offshore wind project developers, which issued 1 billion yuan in bonds in early March.

A green bond is a fixed-income instrument designed specifically to support climate-related or environmental projects.