China’s Wind and Solar Energy Boom Could Be Key in Fight Against Climate Change

China’s wind and solar power installations are growing at a rate that would increase global capacity by 85% by 2025, according to a new study. This surge in renewable energy alternatives could be a huge driving force in the global effort to halt climate change.

The report goes on to say that China is expected to meet their 2030 green energy targets five years earlier than expected. However, their coal dependency is also still growing along side this, mainly as a ‘backup’ for the new wind and solar farms. China is one of the key figures in tackling climate change – as it is the world’s largest user of coal, responsible for 69% of China’s carbon emissions.

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The research, carried out by Global Energy Monitor (GEM), shows that the countries rapid build up of wind and solar power generation could have significant impact on global rising temperatures. It’s main finding is that China currently has more solar panels installed in large-scale projects than the rest of the world combined. Regarding wind energy, the country has doubled its capacity since 2017.

However, this is the just the start of China’s ambitious renewable energy plans. Their rapid expansion of this sector would mean their capacity is doubled by 2025. This would see the global wind turbine fleet increase by 50%, as well as an increase of 85% for their largest solar installations. As the world’s leading supplier of solar panels, China has already driven down costs making solar and wind installations an economically viable alternative to fossil fuels.

With half a trillion dollars spent last year on worldwide wind and solar projects, China’s investments accounted for 55% of that figure.

Author of the GEM report, Martin Weil, comments on the surge, stating, “we believe that the surge in building renewables certainly provides a basis for peaking [China’s] carbon emissions earlier than 2030.” When commenting on China’s continued development of coal plants alongside their renewable alternatives, he says, “the big issue going forward is how will these coal plants actually be deployed…one hopes that they’re deployed in a way that puts the ratio of renewables to coal as high as possible.”

In 2022, China built the equivalent of 2 new coal powered plants every week with the main objective of providing backup energy. However, with the development of more powerful batteries and growth of hydrogen energy, we can be hopeful that these new solutions will allow China to fully move away from coal dependency.