Solar and wind to see accelerated progress


China will continue to accelerate the development of its solar and wind power during the 14th Five-Year Plan period (2021-25) as part of its green energy transition for carbon neutrality by 2060.

The government will increase its total installed capacity of wind and solar power to over 1.2 billion kilowatts by 2030. It will also cover as many as 50 percent of the nation’s buildings with rooftop solar panels, as part of a broader clean-energy generation and storage push, according to a statement jointly released by the National Development and Reform Commission and the National Energy Administration on Monday.

The country has made tremendous achievements in the solar and wind power sectors in recent years. Solar and wind installed capacity tops the world rankings. The percentage of solar and wind power has been steadily climbing and its cost gradually decreasing as well, according to the document.

However, issues still exist in clean energy consumption and grid access, while land resources have also been limiting clean energy development in the country, it said.

To accelerate the construction of a clean, low-carbon and effective energy system in China as it strives to have carbon dioxide emissions peak by 2030 and achieve carbon neutrality before 2060, it is necessary to further develop solar and wind power facilities, to ensure the two sectors play a key role in ensuring the country’s energy security, it said.

Luo Zuoxian, head of intelligence and research at the Sinopec Economics and Development Research Institute, said as wind and solar farms account for more than half of new power capacity that came online in China last year, renewable energy will continue to play a key role in helping Beijing achieve its climate goals.

Luo further said the layout of end consumption plays a key role in the construction of a modern power system in China.

It is necessary to look into the demand side response while carrying out supply side reform, which will ensure a smooth green energy transition in the country, he said.

China added a record 54.9 gigawatts of solar farms last year, 14 percent more than in 2020, the National Energy Administration said earlier.

According to the statement, China will also accelerate solar and wind power generation capacity construction in the Gobi Desert and other arid regions amid efforts to boost renewable power consumption, taking advantage of the rich solar and wind resources there.

It will also further develop the potential of rooftop solar power development in the country’s rural regions while encouraging distributed solar and wind projects in rural regions as well as industrial parks and buildings that qualify for such projects.

The statement also called for further enhancement of the country’s power system regulation capability and flexibility. It underlined support for grid companies so they can better deal with more new energy. It also encouraged the construction of pumped storage projects to ensure efficient and effective power generation.

Pumped storage hydropower is the most common type of energy storage in use today. It saves excess power by using it to pump water from a lower reservoir to an upper one at night when electricity demand is low and then releasing it to generate power during the day when demand is high.

To meet its target for carbon emissions cuts, China will also step up financial support for the development of wind and solar power generation, including enriching green financial products and services, and strengthening support for green bonds and green loans for the new energy projects. It will also conduct further research into inclusion of new energy projects in real estate investment trusts or REITs, the statement disclosed.

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