July 20, 2018 Read More →

China assumes the mantle of green energy leadership

World Finance:

The geographical balance of renewable investment has shifted. The bulk used to belong to developed nations; Europe in particular. Now the ground has been ceded to developing nations, with China at the helm. In 2017, China invested $132.6bn into renewable energy, accounting for almost 40 percent of the total global clean energy investment, as well as 46 percent of the world’s new installed capacity.

When President Donald Trump pulled out of the Paris climate accord, there were fears that countries that looked to the US for leadership would take a more lax approach to the agreement. The opposite, however, was true: many countries have doubled down on their commitments, with China rushing to cement its position as the global leader in green energy.

“With the US recently becoming more economically insular and withdrawing from the Paris Agreement, China clearly sees an opportunity to dominate in clean energy markets around the world,” Simon Nicholas, Research Analyst at the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA), told World Finance.

According to data from the International Renewable Energy Agency, China’s total renewable capacity has been growing at an average rate of just over 15 percent annually for the past decade – almost twice as fast as the global average. Furthermore, China’s growth rates for hydroelectric, solar and wind power have all been between two and three times that of the global average over that same time period.

In total, Chinese renewable capacity has seen a 255 percent increase in the past 10 years. By comparison, the EU and the US have only seen a 105 percent and 97 percent increase respectively. Since 2008, China’s capacity in terms of hydroelectric power has increased by over 97 percent, while wind capacity has grown almost twentyfold.

The most remarkable growth, however, has been in solar capacity. Just 10 years ago, China accounted for less than one percent of the world’s solar capacity. By the end of 2017, it accounted for one third. The growth of China’s solar capacity has been exponential; on average, it has more than doubled every year since 2008. The average yearly solar growth in the US and EU in the same period has been 44.6 percent and 32.6 percent respectively.

In 2008, China’s solar installations produced just 113MW of energy, whereas at the end of 2017 they produced 130.6GW – 1,156 times as much. According to a report by the IEEFA, China now also produces 60 percent of the world’s solar cells.

“Solar power’s rapidly declining cost has driven growth in solar installations worldwide. This can be attributed [in large part] to the big Chinese solar module manufacturers that have ramped up their production capacity,” said Nicholas.

Forecasts suggest that China will take the lion’s share of renewable power capacity growth by 2022. The country will be responsible for 58 percent of global growth in solar capacity, as well as 60 percent of wind growth and 65 percent of hydroelectric.

China assumes the mantle of green energy leadership


Posted in: China, IEEFA In the News

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