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China leads the world's new renewable energy records

Date
03 September 2014
China leads the world's new renewable energy records

LONDON: China is playing a leading role in the global clean revolution and will continue to do so in the coming years, a new report from the International Energy Agency (IEA) shows.

The just published 'Medium-Term Renewable Energy Market Report 2014' by IEA indicates that by 2020, China will account for almost 40% of the global expansion of renewable energy capacity deployment.

But the report shows the international context is also strong: in 2013 global renewable electricity generation rose over 5,000 terawatt hours, an increase of 5% compared with the previous year.

The figures give a boost to the year's positive trend that now sees renewable electricity generation account for more than 20% of global production.

Global renewable electricity production by region, historical and projected - IEA

Image courtesy of International Energy Agency, from “Medium-Term Renewable Energy Market Report 2014”

It is China though, which is the clear leader of the fast-growing renewables market, both in the present and for the future. According to data from the Energy Information Administration of the United States, between 2003 and 2011 China’s renewable electricity generation increased almost 12%, while the global trend was just up 5%. 

China also accounted for almost 18% of global renewable electricity generation in 2011, a huge increase from its 3.29% in 1980.

Total renewable electricity net generation

Image The Climate Group, elaboration from the Energy Information Administration of the United States data.

The report also says that “China remains the anchor of renewable capacity deployment”, underlying how these brilliant results have been achieved thanks to the ambitious targets sets by its political leaders. Bold low carbon policies, combined with listening to the new generation's needs, are showing how a clean revolution is achievable, if economy, politics and society work together.

Still, China faces several challenges. According to the report, renewables should account for nearly 45% of incremental power generation over the medium term, a figure which would put them even ahead of coal. But while clean energy is growing – solar photovoltaics are now fundamental to China’s energy mix thanks to sharp cost decreases – adoption of some technologies has lagged.

New hydropower approvals for example have slowed down, threatening its long-term goals. And according to the IEA, “questions have emerged over whether conditions are favourable for an ambitious planned expansion of distributed solar PV.”

However, Changhua Wu, Greater China Director, The Climate Group, believes these barriers can be overcome with greater political leadership: “China is showing to the rest of the world how it is possible to effectively combine clean technology investments, political sensibility to citizen's requests and economic growth. We are experiencing a great momentum for the global renewables market, but these figures show that political leaders have soon to address clear and bold policies, if we are to meet our global climate commitments. Renewable electric production is continuing to rise, also thanks to private investments and the fall of the primary costs, but the market needs a clear framework to operate with stability. And this is a key political responsibility.”

These issues and many others will be discussed from September 11-12 at the Global Cleantech Summit 2014 in Beijing, an international platform to discuss innovations and opportunities around the green economy. Government leaders, experts and CEOs will convene to analyze this fast-growing market and to consolidate its opportunities.  

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Limited free tickets are available at Cleantech-Summit.org or follow the Summit wherever you are in the world by using hashtag #Cleantech2014.

For further information on attending the event, please contact Rita Zhang on rzhang@theclimategroup.org.

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