(ATF) China plans to hasten construction of wind and solar power projects to bring renewable energy prices in line with those of fossil-fuel generation, China's National Energy Administration (NEA) said on Wednesday.
The announcement comes as the 2021 cutoff date for state subsidies to green power projects nears and authorities seek to encourage more generation of renewable energy amid rising use of coal.
The NEA will increase installed solar and wind capacity and power output to boost the nation’s energy transformation, a circular jointly released by the NEA and the National Development and Reform Commission stated.
The installed wind power connected to the grid will hit 11.4 gigawatts (GW) this year, the circular noted, with that of solar reaching 33.1 GW.
These projects will drive investment of about 220 billion yuan ($31.5bn) and create new jobs, the NAE said.
The declaration is hoped to hasten the completion of construction projects delayed by the coronavirus downturn in time to qualify for the state support. According to Power magazine, coronavirus stalled about 400 megawatts of renewables projects that have been told they would qualify for subsidies.
They have until the end of the year to get the handouts. Without that support, the projects may fail and the government’s green energy targets may be missed.
China is in the process of redrawing its energy mix after the coronavirus lockdown exposed weaknesses and shortfalls in its generation and distribution networks. Troubling for many is an increased use of coal as prices of the fossil fuel plummet.
Global coal-fired generation capacity saw a net decline of 2.9 GW from January to June, the first drop on record for a six-month period, thanks to plant retirements in Europe and elsewhere, the US-based think tank Global Energy Monitor (GEM) said in the study.
But China added 53.2 GW of capacity to its project pipeline in the first half of this year – 90% of the global total – even as the world’s second-largest economy seeks to boost its use of renewable energy as part of a broader anti-pollution drive.
While authorities have pledged to increase the contribution of green energy to the mix, generators are opting for cheaper coal.
To foster a sound environment for the industry, the administration said it will enhance cooperation with related authorities and strengthen monitoring of the development and construction of such projects.