Photographer: Forbes Conrad/Bloomberg

Renewables Dominate China's New Capacity as Coal's Role Slips

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  • Country added 37GW of renewable power during the period
  • China to invest 2.5 trillion yuan in renewbales through 2020

Renewable energy accounted for about 70 percent of China’s new power capacity addition in the first half of the year as the the world’s biggest clean energy investor seeks to reduce its reliance on coal.

About 37 gigawatts of renewable power was added in the first six months of the year, including 24.4 gigawatts of solar and 6 gigawatts of wind power, according to the transcript of a National Energy Administration conference posted on the its website Friday.

China’s total installed renewable power capacity surpassed 600 gigawatts as of the end of June, according to the NEA. The country has been boosting clean energy to help reduce carbon emissions and fight pollution. It pledged earlier this year to invest 2.5 trillion yuan ($370 billion) in renewable power through 2020.

China’s effort to reduce idle renewable capacity because of congested grids started to pay off. The rate for idled turbines fell by 7 percentage points in the first half from the same period a year earlier. The rate for solar farms dropped by 4.5 percentage points, the NEA said. Total wind power output rose 21 percent to 149 billion kilowatt-hours during the period, while solar electricity generation surged 75 percent to 51.8 billion kilowatt-hours.

Coal’s share of the energy mix during the first half slipped 0.6 percentage points from the year earlier period to about 59.8 percent. Natural gas and non-fossil fuels, including wind and solar, gained 0.3 percentage points to 20 percent, the NEA said.

China’s apparent oil consumption rose about 5 percent during the period to 300 million metric tons, the NEA said. Coal demand increased 1 percent to 1.83 billion tons.

— With assistance by Feifei Shen

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