China’s energy regulator has laid down the 2025-2030 renewable consumption targets as a critical measure to ensure Beijing’s ambition to peak emission by 2030.
To recap: China’s president Xi Jinping announced last year that China’s emission would peak by 2030 and the country would reach carbon neutrality by 2060—the ambitious target now referred to as the “2030/2060” horizon. [READ MORE: our initial analysis of the implications of the 2030/2060 horizon on the wind power sector.]
How would China move towards the 2030/2060 horizon had been more clear recently, as the regulators begin to set down industry targets as well as the 14th five-year period and mid-term plans (for 2021-2025 & 2030)
The new policy from NEA provides a clear development roadmap of the wind and solar sectors against the backdrop. [READ MORE: our previous analysis on China’s 14th FYP Renewable Plan and Targets]
China’s Renewable 2030 Horizon
The new policy set clear some of the fundamental “targets” regarding the Chinese renewable sector that were previously undecided:
- 25%: the Ultimate Non-Fossil Fuel Energy Penetration Goal: the policy confirms that, by the end of 2030, non-fossil fuel should represent 25% of China’s total energy consumption mix. The 25% target—an essential target for the power sector to move towards the “2030/2060” horizon —is higher than what the industry previous expected. That means many previous industry projections (based on a lower non-fossil target) would require adjustments.
- 26%: Target Inflations: to ensure the 25% ultimate goal, the National Energy Administration believes that the energy industry should aim 26% non-fossils fuel percentage for 2030 instead (and 16.6% for 2021).
- 40%: 2030 Clean Power Penetration Bottom Line: to achieve the 26% non-fossil-fuel energy penetration goal, the NEA has set down separated renewable and clean power (hydro incl.) penetration targets the power generation mixes between 2021-2030. Clean energy should represent 33.6% and 40% of the total power consumption by 2025 and 2030.
- 25.9%: 2030 Renewable Power Penetration Bottom Line: renewable (wind, solar, and biomass) units would contribute 18.6% and 25.9% of the total power generation mixes.
- 70%: Clean Power Penetration Ceiling: regional governments must strictly meet their annual clean power and renewable penetration targets between 2021-2030. The renewable penetration figures should continue to ramp up until they could reach 70%.
Renewable Target Inflations
Each province faces different renewable penetration targets in the new policy.
As a result, regions currently low in renewable percentage are under major pressure to change their energy structure. The strict targets would become strong political incentives for these regions to embark on new energy projects and provide supporting mechanisms.
Beijing, Tianjin, Guangdong Shandong, Liaoning, Anhui, Jiangsu, Hebei, Fujian, and Zhejiang are among those under higher pressure to reform.
Some provinces had already taken serious steps to ramp up their renewable capabilities. Guangdong, as an example, announced aggressive offshore wind targets as a part of the solution.
The strict annual targets for regional government, we expect, are likely to lead to target “inflations” and even more positive results for the wind and solar market.
China’s Wind and Solar Capacity in 2025, 2030, 2035, and 2050
What exactly is China’s wind and solar market space between now and 2030, under the carbon neutrality horizon?
Two projections—from State Grid and Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI)—provided some answers to China’s installed wind and solar figures for 2025 and 2030.
Notably, these two projections’ underlining assumptions align with the numbers laid down by NEA in its current renewable policy.
- Cumulative by 2025: cumulative wind capacity would reach 536GW—almost double of that figure in 2020. cumulative solar capacity would reach 560GW—more than double that in 2020.
- Additional 2021-2025: wind and solar will see 50GW and 60GW new capacity per year added
- Cumulative by 2030: wind power at 780GW and solar at 840GW—solar would triple its current size.
- By 2035: both the solar and wind market will exceed TW-level. Together they would represent more than half of China’s power market.
These projections suggest that the renewable market should see around 50GW incremental capacity every year from now to 2030. And between 2030-2050, around 60-80GW.
The key difference between RMI and SGCC’s predictions is that the former appears to be more optimistic about the wind market’s result.
In either scenario, the wind and solar market together should well exceed 1.6TW size by the end of 2030.