Grid access still an issue for renewable electricity
Wind and solar energy projects in China may attract as much as 5.4 trillion yuan (2 billion) in investment by 2030 as the country tries to meet its renewable energy targets, according to a report released on Tuesday.
The fast development of China's wind and solar industry will drive the country's economic growth, according to the report, released on Tuesday by environmental organization Greenpeace and involving research by China Wind Energy Association, Energy Research Institute of National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), Tsinghua University and an environmental research group called Draworld.
For example, investment in China's wind and solar projects was valued at 400 billion yuan last year, representing 0.7 percent of the country's total fixed-assets investment, and the number is projected to increase to 495.4 billion yuan in 2030, the report noted.
In addition, investment in the solar and wind sector drove up GDP by 310 billion yuan in 2015, and its contribution to the country's GDP is expected to reach 1.57 trillion yuan in 2030, accounting for 1.1 percent of China's GDP that year, said the report.
China has pledged to increase non-fossil fuel energy to at least 20 percent of total consumption by the end of the next decade, up from 12 percent in 2015, as part of its efforts to tackle air pollution and bring carbon dioxide emissions to a peak by around 2030.
To do that, China would need to raise wind and solar power's share of primary energy consumption to 17 percent by 2030 from 4 percent in 2015, the report said.
In its 13th Five-Year Plan (2016-20) for renewables, the NDRC laid out a plan to raise total wind generation capacity from 129 gigawatts (GWs) in 2015 to more than 210 GWs in 2020, with solar set to rise from 43.18 GWs to 110 GWs.
Total renewable capacity, including hydropower, would rise to 680 GWs, 27 percent of the national total and up from about 480 GWs in 2015, the NDRC said.
The NDRC itself projected its plans will require investment of 2.5 trillion yuan on solar, wind and other renewables just over the 2016-20 period.
However, the report warned that the country's electricity distribution system isn't flexible enough to handle renewable power, so much electricity from wind and solar facilities is wasted.
According to figures released last month by the Electric Power Planning and Engineering Institute, 49.7 billion kilowatt-hours of wind power failed to make it to the grid in 2016, up from 33.9 billion in 2015. The wasted amount was 17 percent of total wind power generation.