China to invest $360bn in renewable energy by 2020

Author:
William Brittlebank
Reading time: 4 minutes
6 January 2017

LONDON: China will spend at least $360 billion on renewable energy development by 2020 as it moves from commitment to action under the Paris Climate Agreement, according to a government announcement on Thursday.

The National Energy Administration (NEA) confirmed in a statement that solar and wind power will be the focus of the new wave of investment which will create about 13 million new jobs in the renewable energy sector.

The investment is part of the NEA’s new five-year plan and will support the national target for half of all new electricity generation to come from low carbon sources by 2020.

China is the world’s biggest emitter of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and the move is aimed at cutting those emissions in line with the country’s commitments under the historic Paris Agreement on climate action reached in December 2015.

 A number of Chinese cities, including the capital Beijing, have been effected by severe pollution and smog in recent months and the government has implemented a range of measures to address the problem.

In 2016, as part of the Chinese government’s “war on pollution,” 335 factories were shut down in Beijing and more than 400,000 high-emitting vehicles were ordered off the roads – helping to achieve a total of 198 “blue sky days” last year, compared to just 12 days in 2015.

The new announcement demonstrates China’s global leadership role on clean energy development and the implementation of the Paris Agreement, and combined with its powerful domestic market manufacturing strength, will lead to even lower costs for clean technologies, making them increasingly competitive with coal and natural gas.

Amy Davidsen, Executive Director North America, The Climate Group, said: “China is demonstrating crucial leadership and ambition on clean energy development and climate action at the national level. This new wave of investment will no doubt energize the global renewable energy market, further reducing the cost of renewables compared to fossil fuel sources, and setting an example to other governments around the world to show that the transition to net-zero emissions economies is happening now.”

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