Solar and Wind Capacity Predicted to Overtake Coal in China in 2024
China is both the world leader in renewable energy and coal production, but installed solar and wind capacity are projected to surpass coal in the country for the first time in 2024, industry association China Electricity Council (CEC) said in its annual report, as Mining.com reported.
According to the report, by the end of this year, solar and wind will supply approximately 40 percent of installed capacity, while coal will make up 37 percent.
“Clean energy contributed a record 11.4tn yuan ($1.6tn) to China’s economy in 2023, accounting for all of the growth in investment and a larger share of economic growth than any other sector,” a recent analysis by Carbon Brief said.
At the end of last year, solar and wind made up roughly 36 percent of China’s energy capacity, with coal at just below 40 percent, reported Reuters.
“If coal interests fail to stall the expansion of China’s wind and solar capacity, then low-carbon energy growth would be sufficient to cover rising electricity demand beyond 2024. This would push fossil fuel use – and emissions – into an extended period of structural decline,” Carbon Brief explained previously.
By the end of the year, the CEC predicts China will have built approximately 1,300 gigawatts (GW) of solar and wind capacity, exceeding its official 1,200 GW by 2030 goal, The Business Times reported.
“For the first time – the rate of low-carbon energy expansion is now sufficient to not only meet, but exceed the average annual increase in China’s demand for electricity overall,” Carbon Brief said previously. “In addition, record additions of low-carbon energy deployment have been accompanied by rapid expansion in related manufacturing capacity.”
The CEC added that all China’s renewable sources of electricity — including hydropower and nuclear — accounted for more than half of total capacity for the first time last year, reported The Business Times.
Electricity consumption in the country is projected to increase by six percent in 2024, the CEC said, down from 6.7 percent last year.
China also saw its electric vehicle (EV) production grow by 36 percent year-on-year to 9.6m units in 2023. EVs now make up 32 percent of all vehicles made in the country, according to Carbon Brief’s new analysis.
“The growing importance of these new industries gives China a significant economic stake in the global transition to clean-energy technologies. Yet it also poses questions for overseas policymakers attempting to tie their own climate strategies to domestic industrial growth,” Carbon Brief said.