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China leads renewable energy drive

Du Juan
Updated: Jan 19,2015 6:45 AM     China Daily

China is now the world’s leader in renewable energy generation, which will allow it to reduce its dependency on coal power and cut carbon emissions, according to a senior energy official.

By the end of 2014, China had installed 430 million kilowatts in total renewable energy power generation, according to the National Energy Administration, the nation’s top energy planner.

That is up from only 52 million kilowatts in 2011, and represents an increase from 4.8 percent of total power generation capacity to 32 percent, according to data from the China Electricity Council.

Although oil prices have been declining since June, China is determined to be a world leader in renewable energy in its bid to help the world mitigate the impact of climate change, Shi Lishan, senior official of the National Energy Administration, said during the International Renewable Energy Agency’s assembly in Abu Dhabi.

Global crude prices have dropped by more than 55 percent to below $50 a barrel since June, resulting in financial difficulties for many energy developers, including US shale gas companies.

However, “a decrease in oil prices does not substantially alter renewable energy competitiveness within the power sector since oil accounts for under 5 percent of the global electricity supply”, said Adnan Amin, director-general of the International Renewable Energy Agency.

“Now is the time for a step-change in deployment for renewables,” he said. “It has never been cheaper to avoid dangerous climate change, create jobs, reduce fuel import bills and future-proof our energy system with renewables.”

Wang Zhongying, director of the China National Renewable Energy Center, said that with technological innovation, the costs of renewable power generation have declined significantly in recent years.

China’s average cost of wind power is 6 US cents per kilowatt hour, the lowest in the world. North America, which also has competitive wind projects, has an average cost of 7 cents per kWh, according to a report by the International Renewable Energy Agency released on Jan 17.

Between 2010 and 2014, the total installed cost of utility-scale solar photovoltaic systems fell by as much as 65 percent.

The most competitive solar photovoltaic projects are delivering electricity for 8 cents per kWh without financial support, and lower prices are possible with low financing costs.

“We may not be the first generation to have a vision of a renewable energy future, but we have the privilege to be the first generation to see its cost become competitive to fossil fuels, which will make the solution happen,” said Michael Taylor, a cost expert with the International Renewable Energy Agency.

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