China's power generation capacity will more than double by 2030, according to a new report. Half of China's new plants will run on renewable energy but coal will continue to dominate the mix.
China—the world’s largest emitter of carbon-dioxide—expects power demand to grow by 5% annually and plans to more than double its power generation capacity by 2030 to meet this relentless demand though a mix of fossil fuel- and renewable energy-powered plants.
Half of China’s new plants will be powered by renewable energy, but dirty coal remains—and will remain for the foreseeable future, the most important fossil fueling China’s growth.
China may add 1,583 gigawatts of capacity and attract $294 billion in renewables investment by 2030 even though the coal will still account for more than 50% of power generation.
While the environment might appreciate the rise in renewables, the specter of coal still haunts the atmosphere. To this end, China has indicated it may invest an additional $340 billion in energy-saving and emissions-reducing projects. In addition, the Chinese Environment Ministry is considering stricter controls on vehicle and industry pollution. (Related article: This Driving Force Could Change Offshore Oil)
Beijing is also boosting solar-power targets as it seeks to curb pollution that spurred unrest about dirty air and water resources.
It is expected that once renewables are added, carbon emissions from power generation could start to decline by 2027.
China accounts for half of the world’s coal consumption, and while coal-fired capacity will drop as renewables and gas generation rise, the fuel’s share in the power mix will remain at a high of 58% in 2030—though this projection is considerably lower than what we’re seeing now. For 2012, that figure was a horrifying 72%.
China aims to cut total coal consumption to below 65% of total primary energy use by 2017 as part of a comprehensive new plan to tackle air pollution.