China drives world renewables capacity addition in 2023
Updated: January 13, 2024 14:15 China Daily

China was the major driving force behind the world's rapid expansion of renewable power generation capacity last year, which grew by 50 percent to 510 gigawatts, the International Energy Agency said.

Driven by rapid growth in China, renewable energy capacity surged globally last year, generating green power faster than at any time during the last few decades, the agency said in a new report.

China, which has become a dominant force in the field of renewable energy, will see its position further consolidate in the next five years, as lower costs make utility-scale solar power generation more attractive compared to coal and gas power generation, it said.

Additionally, China has outlined and clarified regulations for green power certificates, which will bring additional income for solar and wind energy developers, and further accelerate its renewable energy development, the IEA said.

According to Qin Haiyan, secretary-general of the Chinese Wind Energy Association, clean energy, including wind power, is being preferred in China, not only because it is "green", but also because it is cheaper compared with traditional fossil fuels, including coal.

Supportive industrial policies have played a key role in China's rapid development of renewable energy in the past few years, making it the world leader in terms of renewable energy capacity and technical advancement, he said.

China's installed capacity of renewable energy exceeded 1.45 billion kilowatts in 2023, accounting for more than 50 percent of the country's total installed power generation capacity, according to data released by the National Energy Administration.

Renewable energy became a new force to ensure electricity supply in China in 2023 amid the country's green energy transition.

Power generated from renewable energy sources such as wind and solar now accounts for more than 15 percent of China's total electricity consumption, it said.

Kou Nannan, head of China Research at BloombergNEF, said policy support and power market reform, as well as the development of energy storage and investment in infrastructure, such as upgrading and expanding the power grid, will play crucial roles in accelerating China's green and low-carbon energy transformation going forward.

According to the IEA, despite policy and financial support introduced by the United States and countries in Europe recently, China is still on course to expand its gap over the rest of the world in deploying renewables.

"China accounts for almost 90 percent of the global upward forecast revision, consisting mainly of solar photovoltaic. The country's solar photovoltaic manufacturing capabilities have reduced local module prices by nearly 50 percent from January to December 2023, increasing the economic attractiveness of both utility-scale and distributed solar PV projects," it said.

China has several advantages that others do not possess, including the ability to approve and build transmission grids and renewable energy projects more efficiently and finance projects more easily thanks to policy priorities, it said.

China more than doubled solar capacity in 2023, and wind power capacity rose by 66 percent from a year earlier, the IEA said.

The agency said that under current market conditions and existing policies, renewable energy capacity would reach 7,300 GW by 2028, with China, the world's second-largest economy, responsible for almost 60 percent of the new renewable capacity added worldwide, it said.

According to the IEA's forecast, by 2028, almost half of China's electricity generation will come from renewable energy sources.

Despite unprecedented PV manufacturing expansion in the US and India driven by policy support, China is expected to maintain its 80 to 95 percent share of global supply chains, it said.

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