China will more than double global present installed wind and solar capacity, and increase its own capacity by more than five times, under a target to increase the share of zero carbon sources in its energy mix by 2030.
China confirmed on Tuesday a pledge to increase the share of zero carbon energy by 2030, to 20% of the total from 11% now, of primary energy consumption.
That pledge was under a prospective global climate agreement expected to be signed by all countries in Paris at the end of the year. China’s pledge follows targets to cut emissions recently published by the United States and the European Union.
China has previously said that the target implied building an additional 800-1,000 gigawatts of zero carbon power between now and 2030.
New analysis by China’s National Centre for Climate Change Strategy estimates that the target implies that the company will build around an additional 345 GW of wind, and 325 WG of solar by 2030, for a combined 670 GW.
That compares with about 143 GW existing, combined wind and solar now in China, and 553 GW globally.
Regardless of whether China’s efforts to cut carbon emissions are enough to meet more ambitious expectations of climate scientists, they should assure that the country continues to lead world markets in wind and solar power.
China is hugely important for the global renewable energy industry. The world’s second biggest economy is already the global leader in installed wind power capacity, and the number two in installed solar power.
As of the end of last year, China had cumulatively installed some 28 GW of solar. That was a 60 percent increase on the previous year, according to the energy firm BP, placing the country second globally after Germany in cumulative capacity.
And China has cumulatively installed some 115 GW of wind power, more than any other country.
China’s commitment to renewables over the past seven years has led to sharp cost reductions globally, as the country ramped up manufacturing. By continuing to drive strong demand, it seems that such cost reductions will continue, bringing closer global competitiveness with fossil fuels.
Such an outlook would also drive growth in demand for related and enabling technologies, including local and grid-scale storage of power, electric vehicles, inverters and smart grids and meters.