Climate Change: China’s Green Power Boom Offers Hope
The installation of solar panels alone is increasing at a rate that would increase world capacity by 85% by 2025.
According to the research, the country’s green energy targets for 2030 would be met five years ahead of schedule.
However, coal facilities are expanding, partially as a backup for all of the new wind and solar farms, according to the authors.
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China is frequently regarded as the key to the global effort to reduce carbon emissions, which are the core cause of climate change.
The country is the world’s largest user of coal, primarily for energy generation. Coal combustion accounts for around 69% of China’s CO2 emissions.
However, according to this new study, China is rapidly increasing its capacity to generate power from wind and solar, which might have a substantial impact on mitigating the effects of rising temperatures.
The study was conducted by Global Energy Monitor (GEM), an independent research organization whose work is frequently cited by the World Bank, the International Energy Agency, and governments.
The paper examines China’s present installed green energy capacity, as well as what has been declared and is under construction for the next two years.
It discovers that China currently has more large-scale solar panels installed than the rest of the world combined. Since 2017, the country’s wind energy capacity has more than doubled.
However, this appears to be only the beginning. According to GEM, China is quickly increasing this sector and will more than double its wind and solar capacity by the end of 2025.
In comparison to current levels, China would grow the worldwide wind turbine fleet by 50% and the global large-scale solar installations by 85%.
This current surge is the result of plans that have been in the works for nearly two decades.
China has now become the world’s biggest supplier of solar panels, pushing down costs throughout the supply chain. This has aided the economic competitiveness of solar and wind projects in China.
Subsidies and rules requiring each province to meet green energy objectives have all played a role.
Last year, more than $500 billion was invested globally on wind and solar, with China accounting for 55% of that total.
President Xi Jinping stated in 2020 that China would develop over 1,200 gigatonnes of solar and wind power by 2030. According to the new report, this aim will be met five years ahead of plan.
“We believe that the surge in building renewables certainly provides a basis for peaking [China’s] carbon emissions earlier than 2030,” Martin Weil, one of the report’s authors, stated.
While this could be good news for mitigating global warming, China’s usage of coal remains a huge concern.
In 2022, China built roughly two new coal-fired power plants every week, many of which were positioned on new solar and wind parks, often to provide backup power and assure energy supply continuity.
“The big issue going forward is how these coal plants will actually be deployed,” Mr. Weil added.
“One hopes that they are deployed in such a way that the renewables-to-coal ratio is as high as possible.”
Other crucial indicators will be the advancement of battery storage and the expansion of hydrogen, both of which will be critical in assisting China’s successful transition away from coal.