China to double power capacity by 2030, led by renewables

China’s power generation capacity will double by 2030, with renewable energy making up more than half of the new plants, according to a study recently released by Bloomberg New Energy Finance.

China plans to add more than 1,500 gigawatts of new power over the next two decades, as it invests nearly $4 trillion in its power sector. Coal’s share of China’s power generation will decline from about 67 percent in 2012 to 44 percent in 2030, according to the report. Still, coal is expected to fuel at least 38 gigawatts of the additional capacity each year through 2022, equal to about three large coal plants per month, the research noted.

“Despite significant progress in renewable energy deployment, coal looks set to remain dominant to 2030,” said Jun Ying, country manager and head of research for China at Bloomberg Energy Finance in a written statement. “More support for renewable energy, natural gas and energy efficiency will be needed if China wants to reduce its reliance on coal more quickly.”

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Investment in coal plans in China is expected to decline after 2022 to 10 gigawatts per year, but air quality issues will get worse for the next 10 to 15 years, the report said. While China is the world’s largest carbon emitter, its emphasis on renewables means that power emissions could begin to decline by 2027.

China is also poised to become the world’s largest importer of oil, with most of its supplies coming from the Middle East, according to a recent study. It has also recently announced plans to begin construction of a new nuclear facility, the first since the Fukushima accident in Japan in 2011.

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