You may recall when the Chinese president, Xi Jinping, made his surprise announcement in 2020, pledging to achieve peak CO2 emissions before 2030 and carbon neutrality by 2060. The world celebrated this news from our planet's largest polluter.
Three years on, the country's renewables revolution is truly astonishing. China is set to double its capacity to produce wind and solar power by 2025, reaching its 2030 goal five years ahead of time, according to the report by Global Energy Monitor, a San Francisco-based NGO that tracks operating utility-scale wind and solar farms as well as future projects in the country.
It says that as of the first quarter of the year, China’s utility-scale solar capacity has reached more than that of the rest of the world combined.
In addition, the group identified solar farms under construction that represents prospective capacity that is triple that of the US and nearly double that of Europe.
China has also made huge strides in wind capacity: its combined onshore and offshore capacity is now double its 2017 level and roughly equivalent to the next top seven countries combined.
“This new data provides unrivalled granularity about China’s jaw-dropping surge in solar and wind capacity,” said Dorothy Mei, a project manager at Global Energy Monitor.
China’s green energy drive is part of its effort to meet dual carbon goals set out in 2020. As the world’s second largest economy, it is the biggest emitter of greenhouse gases and accounts for half of the world’s coal consumption. So, the country's extraordinary advances in generating clean power still has to be set its current voracious appetite from coal. However, on the bright side, it's good to know that China could easily surpass its target of supplying a third of its power consumption through renewable sources by 2030.
“China is making strides,” said Martin Weil, a researcher at Global Energy Monitor and an author of the report. “But with coal still holding sway as the dominant power source, the country needs bolder advancements in energy storage and green technologies for a secure energy future.”