China’s wind and solar power to overtake coal this year: Report

China's wind and solar power to overtake coal this year: Report
Image: Shutterstock / Sean Xu

China stands at the brink where wind and solar power are set to overtake coal within this year. The annual report from the China Electricity Council (CEC) underscores this crucial change: by the end of 2024, installed capacity from renewable sources such as wind or sunlight will represent 40%. Meanwhile, traditional powerhouse coal is projected for a slight dip accounting for only about 37%.

This transition signifies a profound reversal from the preceding year, in which wind and solar energy trailed slightly behind fossil fuels – notably coal. The combined capacity of these sources stood at 36% yet this gap is set to widen significantly as China accelerates its adoption of renewable power.

According to findings by CEC (China Electricity Council), it aims for an impressive production target—1,300 gigawatts  (GW)—of both solar and wind by year end. This would outstrip their previously stated goal for 2030—an ambitious but now potentially conservative estimate—pegged only at 1,200 GW.

These statistics, reported by Global Energy Monitor data is a testament not just to China’s commitment towards ecological sustainability but also its role as a global leader.

China further demonstrates its leadership in renewable energy development through its dominant position in the global solar capacity market, which accounts for over half of the world’s total. Since 2017, it has also notably expanded both onshore and offshore wind power. Despite these advancements, China remains the largest global consumer of coal.

However, there may be a shift in this trend as investments in clean energy surged to a record $676 billion in 2023 — a notable 6 per cent increase from 2022 according to BloombergNEF.

In 2023 China’s clean energy sector made an exceptional contribution of a record-breaking 11.4 trillion yuan ($1.6 trillion) to the national economy which significantly drove economic growth.

In its report, EcoWatch have also emphasized related advancements in manufacturing capacities. Such a robust push for clean energy signifies a transition towards more sustainability and economic importance within their energy strategy – presenting both opportunities and challenges for global climate policies as well as industrial expansion.

China’s projected 6% increase in electricity consumption for 2024 may signal a new era: one characterized by reduced reliance on fossil fuels and emissions, aligning with global initiatives to mitigate climate change. That is if the transition towards predominantly renewable energy capacity continues.


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