Tuesday, May 16, 2017

By 2030 China hopes to use 20 percent non-fossil fuel to produce electricity

China's state planner said that the country aims to have non-fossil fuels produce about 20 percent of total energy consumption by 2030 and to contribute to more than half of demand by 2050.

China has been attempting to shift power production away from coal for some years. The National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) said that carbon dioxide emissions will peak in China by the year 2030. The NDRC says it wants to increase oil and underground natural gas storage but did not give details as to how this would be done. China will increase its production of wind and solar energy.
In January a five-year plan for the energy sector was released. Coal consumption will be below its peak level of 2013-2014. Clean energy share is expected to reach 15 percent. In 2015 China set a world record for the most solar capacity installed in one year. It added enough solar panels to cover one and a half football fields every hour. In 2016 that pace was doubled to a rate of three football fields per hour. Coal consumption has been falling for the last three years. If China is able to deliver the planned amount of renewable energy but growth in energy consumption is slower the share of non-fossil energy will approach 17 percent, well above the 15 percent predicted in 2020. A lower energy demand coupled with a higher share of clean energy production will result in lower CO2 emissions than predicted.
The grid operators and power companies have often failed to cut power generation from coal as more power is produced from renewable resources. They also fail to prioritize renewable energy in their grid planning resulting in much waste of clean energy and slower growth in its use. It was estimated in September of 2016, 19 percent of wind power output and 10 percent of solar output was wasted equal to the power produced by 20 large coal-fired plants. Much of the waste is in the west of China and new transmission links are being built that can help solve the problem. While problems in grid integration led planners to prioritize solar and wind development in the east and central China this needs to be done in other areas as well. The switch over from coal in such a huge system is bound to face problems but at least the country is moving in the right direction.
China will continue cutting the capacity of its coal mines by 800 million tonnes a year until 2020. In 2014 coal generated 84% of all China's electric power, but that is expected to drop to just 54 percent in 2040. China is also modernizing the coal plants it will keep in production in an attempt to cut pollution by 60 percent. By 2020 China also plans to add more than 20 million kilowatts production from wind power and another 13 million from solar power.

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