China scales back renewables, increases coal use

China has reduced its solar and wind targets but plans to increase the use of coal by 2020. The National Energy Administration (NEA) has cut solar capacity from 150GW to 110GW and slashed wind […]

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By Jonny Bairstow

China has reduced its solar and wind targets but plans to increase the use of coal by 2020.

The National Energy Administration (NEA) has cut solar capacity from 150GW to 110GW and slashed wind targets from 250GW to 210GW, according to Asia Europe Clean Energy Advisory (AECEA).

However the nation’s new Five-Year Plan states China would boost coal capacity – from 920GW to 1,100GW in 2020.

The plan spans from 2016 to 2020 and insists the country will focus on increasing renewable energy capacity and promoting innovative, green industrial practices.

The NEA adds it would increase non-fossil fuel sources to provide 15% of the energy mix by 2020 but coal would still make up around 55%.

Considering China installed 43GW of solar in 2015 and 27GW so far this year, with another 8GW possibly on the way, the target doesn’t leave much room for renewable growth between now and 2020, states AECEA.

It adds that would mean Chinese solar capacity could only grow from 78GW to 110GW over this time frame, “signalling a huge slowdown in pace from the country’s rapid adoption in recent years”.