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China's RE capacity to overtake coal, industry body asks for battery incentives to speed up additions

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China's installed wind and solar capacity will overtake its coal generation capacity this year, according to forecasts from the China Electricity Council (CEC).

The industry body's yearly report says grid-connected wind and solar will account for around 40 percent of the Middle Kingdom's installed power generation capacity 2024 end, ahead of coal's estimated 37 percent. CEC says this will reverse the situation from the end of 2023, when wind and solar accounted for around 36 percent of capacity while coal held just under 40 percent share.

The CEC has also urged the Chinese government to develop a capacity payment system, as this would incentivize battery storage and other new energy storage technologies, helping incorporate energy from renewable sources into the grid. The council has also suggested speeding up the construction of pumped hydro storage capacity. 

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China has an official target of 1,200 GW wind and solar capacity by 2030, but the country is likely to meet – and exceed – that this year itself, with combined wind and solar capacity touching 1,300 GW by year end.

China has been ramping up capacity of cleaner generation technology. The CEC report mentions that China's generation capacity from all non-fossil fuel sources – mainly renewables, nuclear and hydro – crossed 50 percent of the country's total power generation capacity for the first time in in 2023. The country's actual power generation is still dominated by coal, however. The black lumps generated nearly 60 percent of the power that China consumed last year. 


No looking back: Energy transition in China -  

A global force to reckon with in the energy storage and battery manufacturing, China is reportedly taking big steps this year to jack up its domestic capacities. In the first five months of 2023, the country announced new energy storage projects worth 19 GW, up by 93.5 percent from the same period last year. By 2027, China is expected to boast a total capacity of 97 GW, according to Haitong Securities Co. Ltd. As the frontrunner of electric mobility in the world, China registered a y-o-y EV sales growth of 29 percent in Q1 2023. According to Counterpoint Research, China's EV sales is expected to exceed 8 million units in 2023, up from 6.9 million units sold in 2022. Pure electric vehicles (BEVs) account for nearly 70 percent of the new energy vehicles (NEVs) sold in the country, although the share of plug-in hybrid EVs (PHEVs) continue to grow this year. China is the largest producer and consumer of hydrogen in the world, making about 34 million tons of hydrogen (2021) in one year, although a meagre 0.1 percent is 'green', produced via electrolysis powered by renewable energy.
Author : Mandar Bakre
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