Windpower in China
China has become the world foremost user of wind power. Nearly half of global new installed capacity in 2015 was in China.
China has excellent wind potential, and exploits its long coastline. As of end of 2015 it has 145.1 GW, 30.5 GW of which it added in 2015 alone (c.p. next largest USA total 74.4 GW, 8.6 GW of which new in 2015). This generated 186.3 TWh (3.3% of China's national electricity demand). The USA has a higher capacity factor, so still maintains a lead in production (190.9 TWh in 2015).
China has a plan to generate 15% of its electricity from renewables by 2020, and is attempting to raise its wind power to 250 GW by then. Some studies report that China may have 2.6 TW exploitable capacity (of which 200 GW offshore). This would be 60% of its current electricity demand. However, given improvements in capacity factor, say researchers from Harvard and Tsinghua University, China could be generating all of its power from wind by 2030.
China Energy Policy
China invested $315 billion (17.5% of world total 1.8 trillion dollars) in 2015 in energy supply, making it the world's largest energy investor. In particular, it is seeking to build low-carbon generation capacity, and improve energy efficiency. 1
Source: 1 http://www.iea.org/newsroom/news/2016/september/world-energy-investment-2016.html
See also: China-EU Institute for Clean and Renewable Energy (CE-ICARE) icare.hust.edu.cn
Coal use in China
Around half of the coal burnt in the world today is used in China for heating and electricity. After decades of inaction, the Chinese government is now ranking the pollution brown coal causes as a major problem, and is taking steps to reduce its dependence on this fossil fuel.
The smog in Beijing regularly hits dangerous levels. Along with some traffic restrictions, the government reacted by banning the use of coal for heating in 6 central districts as of 2020. Between 2014 and 2016 it shut four coal-fired power stations, planning to replace them with gas-fired stations.
Measures like these to reduce coal use have been taken primarily for the sake of public health, but they also allow China to claim it is doing its bit towards reducing CO2 emissions, and therefore for combating climate change. Natural gas is still a fossil fuel, but burns much more cleanly and efficiently than brown coal, and emits only half as much pollution for the same amount of energy.
China is expected to peak its coal demand around 2020. Since China uses half of the world's coal, this is also expected to peak world coal demand. However, despite rapid expansion of its renewable energy, making China the world's leader, with the highest installed wind capacity, no dramatic fall in coal demand is anticipated because the demand for electrical power is increasing at at least the same rate as renewables.
Solar Energy in China
China has an ambitious plan to expand its solar lead, by adding 15-20 GW of capacity each year over the period of its current 5-year plan (2015-2020). This will bring its total installed solar power generation capacity to 140 GW by 2020, compared to world capacity of over 300 GW at end of 2016.[China now has 43.2 gigawatts of solar capacity, compared to 38.4 gigawatts in Germany and 27.8 in the United States. In 2015, China added more than 15 gigawatts of new solar capacity, surpassing Germany as the world’s largest solar power market. Under its 13th Five Year Plan, China will nearly triple solar capacity by 2020, adding 15 to 20 gigawatts of solar capacity each year for the next five years, which will bring China’s installed solar power to more than 140 gigawatts. World solar capacity topped 200 gigawatts last year and is expected to reach 321 gigawatts by the end of 2016. China’s massive solar panel manufacturing sector needs new markets for its products. Patrick Jobin, an analyst at Credit Suisse, said Monday that a solar panel glut could hit the sector this year as China’s top three producers, JA Solar, JinkoSolar, and Trina Solar, continue to ramp up production despite flattening international demand. Global Solar power has been forecast to be 540 GW by 2020 in the high estimate, and 396 in the low, according to the European Photovoltaic Industry Association (EPIA). China would move from 20% of the global solar power to 26-35%.]