China: Qinghai targets additional 7.1 GW of renewables in 2016

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Qinghai Electric Power, which is in charge of all electric connections in Qinghai Province, has said total renewable energy installations there could reach up to 7.1 GW this year.

Accounting for 30% of total power installation in the western Chinese province, cumulative renewable capacity is currently sitting at 6.07 GW, of which 5.6 GW comprises ground-mounted solar PV. An additional 467 MW of wind has been installed, and 2.8 MW of distributed PV.

Qinghai Province, one of the most underdeveloped provinces in China, has a land area of 721,000 square kilometers, similar to the landmass of Holland and Belgium combined, but with a population of just six million. Due to favorable solar irradiation and abundant natural resources, it is optimal for renewable energy development, including solar PV, CSP and wind energy.

However, like other north and northwest provinces of China, which focus on the development of renewables, Qinghai faces the trouble that, along with new power installation, local power consumption is dropping and new grid construction is lacking. Qinghai Electric Power admitted these issues are possible barriers to further implementation, but insisted that renewable energy installs will continue to increase during the government’s thirteenth five year plan.

At the end of 2015, the Chinese Government set its national 2016 targets for renewables. Slightly lower than the 17.8 GW of new solar PV capacity planned for last year, the government anticipates just 15 GW this year. Cumulative capacity is said to be 40 GW; the target is to reach 150 GW by 2020.

The government will also cut solar PV FITS and add a 27% surcharge on to domestic energy bills (of around 0.019 yuan per kWh of electricity), according to Bloomberg, which quoted a report by the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC).

Edited by Becky Beetz

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