China Has Already More Than Doubled Its 2020 Solar Power Target
By Jing Yan and Lauri Myllyvirta
China has more than doubled its end-of-decade solar power target, with new installations dramatically outstripping expectation, according to the government's energy agency.
By the end of July this year, China's solar PV capacity topped 112GW, after installing a stunning 35GW in just seven months—more than twice as much as installed by any other country in all of 2016.
As a result, total solar PV capacity now exceeds the government's 2020 goal of 105GW, set as recently as last year.
This could have created a very confusing situation for the industry—after years of record-setting installations, there was no target to hit—but the National Energy Administration (NEA) responded by setting new, ambitious annual installation targets.
World's Biggest Floating Solar Farm Goes Live on Top of a Former Coal Mine https://t.co/UufHfdlrq4 #solar #renewableenergy #coal @EcoWatch— DeSmogBlog (@DeSmogBlog)1503614408.0
These targets would take capacity to 213GW in 2020—which is five times larger than current capacity of the U.S.
That would mean covering an area of land equivalent to greater London—1500km2—with solar panels.
Current growth rates suggest China could even surpass that new, higher target.
Wind is also doing well
China is on track to install at least 110.4 GW in onshore wind capacity over the next three years.
This would increase the country's cumulative wind power installation by 2020 to about 264 GW, far exceeding the original target of 210GW set during the 13th Five-Year Plan period.
It's also considerably more than the total wind power capacity of all of Europe (and that's including the UK).
That's not all the new targets imply.
By 2020, China is aiming to build 54.5GW of large-scale solar projects—PV stations, and agriculture and husbandry combinations.
That alone surpasses the total solar capacity of both the UK and Germany combined.
In addition there will be 8GW of new showcase projects that use higher efficiency solar PV every year.
The new target reflects the huge potential for distributed solar—electricity that is produced at the same spot where it is used. Under the new regulation, there are no limitations on the installation of distributed renewables, meaning innovations like rooftop solar panels are on track to soar.
Over the past year, distributed solar installations have shot up.
According to NEA statistics, 7.11 GW of distributed solar PV was added in the first half of 2017, an approximately threefold increase year-on-year.
The astounding growth of wind and solar power in China means that the country is on track to generate Germany's total electricity consumption from these sources by 2020. Generation from wind and solar would amount to around nine percent of China's own consumption, up from 5.2 percent last year.
But it's not all rosy.
China's wind and solar power sectors are still battling a huge curtailment crisis.
In the first half of 2017, the national wind curtailment rate stood at 13.6 percent, with solar curtailment in five northwest provinces at 15.5 percent.
The NEA's new targets, however, acknowledge the problem and take two key steps to tackle it.
First, provinces with serious wind and solar curtailment problems, such as the western provinces Gansu, Xinjiang and Ningxia, are not permitted to install more capacity.
This should have the effect of nudging these province's governments towards effectively utilising the enormous capacity they have already installed.
And that will mean challenging coal's dominance in the energy mix.
Second, seven provinces, including Beijing and Shanghai, are allowed to install as much solar capacity as they want with the important caveat that the new capacity does not cause curtailment in these areas.
That suggests China could in fact smash its own 2020 solar target. Again.
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Where Does the Deficiency Begin?<p>Nobody knows exactly how much vitamin D a person actually needs. The question of when a deficiency starts is correspondingly controversial. However, vitamin D is becoming increasingly popular.Not only is the pseudo-scientific literature on the "sun vitamin" experiencing an upswing, but the number of published studies has also increased enormously in recent years. For example, in 2019 <a href="https://academic.oup.com/edrv/article/40/4/1109/5126915" target="_blank">a study found that</a> Vitamin D is responsible for keeping the skeleton functional and is associated with cardiovascular diseases, type 2 diabetes and various types of cancer. <br></p>
An All-Rounder<p>Vitamin D levels in the body rise and fall according to sun exposure. If sufficient UV rays reach the skin, the body is able to produce the vitamin itself. However, the human body only derives an estimated 10 to 20 percent of its daily requirement from food.</p><p>The vitamin D that we synthesize from sunlight or food is not biologically active at first. Before the kidneys can produce the biologically active form of the vitamin, known as calcitriol, and release it into the blood, some metabolic processes must take place beforehand.</p><p>In addition, many organs have receptors to which the precursor of calcitriol binds. Further, this substance is also present in blood.</p><p>From this precursor, the organs then produce calcitriol themselves, which the body then uses for countless other processes in the body. This form of vitamin D thus regulates insulin secretion, inhibits tumor growth, and promotes the formation of red blood cells as well as the survival and activity of macrophages, which are important for the <a href="https://www.mdpi.com/2072-6643/5/7/2502/htm" target="_blank">immune system.</a></p>
Low Vitamin D, Severe COVID-19 Disease?<p>A research study carried out <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2352364620300067?via%3Dihub" target="_blank">at the University of Hohenheim</a> has now established a link between vitamin D deficiency, certain previous diseases, and severe cases of COVID-19.</p><p>According to the study, "there is a lot of evidence that several non-communicable diseases (high blood pressure, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, metabolic syndrome) are associated with low vitamin D plasma levels. These comorbidities, together with the often accompanying vitamin D deficiency, increase the risk of severe COVID-19 events."</p><p>"This statement is completely correct," said Martin Fassnacht, head of endocrinology at the University Hospital of Würzburg. However, he qualifies that it is a pure association, "i.e. a mere observation that these events occur together.</p><p>Dr. Fassnacht is very critical of the hype surrounding vitamin D, but not because he denies the vitamin serves important functions. However, studies on humans have not been able to show that vitamin D has the healing powers many often propagate.</p><p>Fassnacht says, "If you take a closer look, the hopes that the administration of vitamin D has a healing effect have not been confirmed so far."</p>
Association Versus Intervention Studies<p>Many studies on the vitamin are association or observational studies. "By definition, these studies cannot prove the causal relationship, but only point to mere correlations," said Fassnacht. The physician tries to illustrate this with an example:</p><p>"Imagine two groups of 80-year-olds. One group is spry, active and does sports. If you compare them with another group living in nursing homes, the difference in vitamin D levels will be dramatic. Life expectancy would also be extremely different."</p><p>But to try to explain the difference in fitness by vitamin D status alone is far too simplistic. "Vitamin D levels are a good measure of how sick someone is. But not more," says Fassnacht. </p><p>According to Fassnacht, none of the intervention studies carried out to date -- that specifically examined the effect of vitamin D on various diseases -- has been able to confirm the previous association and laboratory studies or the presumed positive effect of vitamin D.</p>
Further Research Is Needed<p>"If a coronavirus infection is suspected, it is therefore absolutely necessary to check the vitamin D status and quickly correct any possible deficit," said the recommendation of the paper published by the University of Hohenheim.</p><p>"Studies are underway to see whether vitamin D helps in COVID-19 infection, but I personally do not believe that this is really the case," says endocrinologist Fassnacht. Nevertheless, he says it is of course useful to carry out these studies.<br></p><p>"I don't want to rule out that there are actually subgroups of people who benefit from an additional vitamin D dose," he says. After all, this has been proven to be the case with a severe deficit.</p><p>In view of the study situation, Fassnacht does not think much of preventive, nationwide vitamin D substitutes. "My belief that the vitamin helps somewhere is very low. But, of course, I can be wrong."</p>
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