China to invest $361bn in renewables by 2020, says NEA


China’s clean energy ambitions are set to be bolstered by around $72 billion a year over the next four years as the country eyes a $361 billion investment in renewable energy.

Reuters reports that a blueprint document published Thursday by the National Energy Administration (NEA) outlines plans to invest 2.5 trillion yuan into solar PV, wind, hydro and nuclear power between now and 2020, with these sources accounting for 50% of all new electricity generation added in China during that time.

According to the National Development and reform Commission’s (NDRC) five-year plan, solar power alone is set to receive one trillion yuan as the nation seeks to boost its PV capacity five-fold – the equivalent of an additional 1,000 mega-scale solar plants, Reuters says.

Wind power will receive around 700 billion yuan, with hydro to be boosted by 500 billion yuan investment, the blueprint says. The NEA also believes that such investment will deliver an additional 13 million jobs in the clean energy sector over the next five years, although this rather bullish prediction is countered by the NDRC’s projections, which puts the number of new job possibilities at a more modest three million.

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Even if these investment targets are hit, however, the NEA says that renewable energy will only account for 15% of China’s overall energy consumption by 2020, which would be akin to removing 580 million tonnes of coal from the atmosphere.

Progress, but with coal still likely to account for around 50% of China’s installed power capacity at that point, experts remain concerned that the country’s growing smog and pollution problem is going to get worse before it gets better.

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