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New focus on coal jeopardizes climate targets

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  • The 14th Five-year plan for renewable energy aims to increase the national share of renewables in electricity consumption to 33 percent by 2025 and 40 percent by 2030 (now at 29 percent).​
  • One key pillar is the expansion of large wind and photovoltaics power bases in Xinjiang, along the Yellow River, the Hexi Corridor, the Northeastern Plain and Northern Hebei.​
  • In addition, offshore wind projects along the Shandong peninsula, the Yangtze River Delta, Fujian’s coast, Eastern Guangdong and the Golf of Tonkin are to be build.​
  • Currently, the renewable energy capacity accounts for 45 percent of total power capacity (2021). Most of it is hydropower (391 GW), followed by wind (329 GW) and photovoltaics (306 GW). Biomass electricity accounts for about 37 GW.​
  • After the power cuts and coal shortage in 2021, China’s state leadership and energy experts now clearly prioritize energy security and economic growth over climate protection. Xi Jinping said during the Two Sessions: “Green transformation is a process, not an overnight thing”.​
  • As part of that shift, the government strongly advocates the use of clean coal to secure energy security. Coal capacity is currently being ramped up more quickly.​
  • In Q4 2021, coal output increased by 5 percent year-on-year and about 14 percent in March 2022.​
  • So far, China still seems to be on a good track to further expand its renewable energy consumption and reach its emission targets. However, it depends on the dimension of the current medium-term coal use increase whether the renewables targets can in fact be met at the end.​

Sinolytics is a European consulting and analysis company specializing in China. It advises European companies on their strategic orientation and concrete business activities in the People’s Republic.

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