China’s Clean Energy Exceeds 20% of Power Generation in 2015

  • Idled wind power rose 69% in 2015 from previous year
  • China saw idle solar capacity emerge in 2015 in northwest

China’s renewable energy, including from hydropower, accounted for a combined 24.5 percent of the nation’s power generation in 2015, even though grid congestion meant that electricity from some projects was wasted.

About 19.6 percent of China’s total power generation came from hydropower plants, with 3.3 percent from wind, and 0.7 percent from solar, the National Energy Administration said in a report posted on its website. The share from biomass power was 0.2 percentage points higher than from solar even though capacity was about a quarter of total photovoltaic installations.

China had 129 gigawatts of installed wind capacity and 43 gigawatts of solar at the end of last year, the agency said. 

The nation is struggling to integrate power supplies from renewable sources even as the government continues to promote clean energy as an alternative to more polluting fuels like coal and natural gas.

China idled 33.9 billion kilowatt-hours of wind power last year, up 69 percent from a year earlier, the NEA said. About 39 percent of all wind projects in the northwestern province of Gansu sat unused. Xinjiang and Jilin trailed at 32 percent each.

The nation began to see the issue of idled capacity crop up in 2015 with power generated from solar farms in the northwest, the NEA said. The situation was the most severe in Gansu with an idle rate of 31 percent, followed by Xinjiang.

— With assistance by Feifei Shen

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