Experts: New plan will give fillip to renewables

2024-06-06    Source:By ZHENG XIN | China Daily

Workers maintain wind turbine blades at a wind power equipment manufacturing enterprise in Baotou, Inner Mongolia autonomous region, on May 11, 2024. [Photo/Xinhua]

China's latest action plan to conserve energy and cut carbon emissions will invigorate the solar and wind power industries, and present unprecedented opportunities for domestic renewable energy companies, executives and experts said.

By targeting a significant increase in nonfossil energy consumption and promoting large-scale renewable energy projects, the plan underscores China's commitment to a sustainable energy transition, promising robust growth and innovation in the clean energy sector, said Zhu Gongshan, chairman of solar power firm GCL Group, in an exclusive interview with China Daily.

"The action plan for energy conservation and carbon reduction has provided a broader space and clearer direction for the development of the new energy industry in the country, marking a solid step forward in achieving the goals of carbon peak and carbon neutrality," he said.

"The target to raise the proportion of non-fossil energy consumption will bring unprecedented development opportunities for new energy companies, further accelerating technological innovation, advancing clean energy technologies, and reducing costs, and promote the coordinated upgrade of the entire industry chain."

The State Council released an action plan for 2024-25 on Wednesday, aiming to reduce energy consumption and carbon dioxide emissions per unit of GDP by about 2.5 percent and 3.9 percent, respectively, this year.

Energy consumption per unit of added value for industrial enterprises above a designated size will be cut by around 3.5 percent this year, while the proportion of nonfossil energy consumption will reach around 18.9 percent in 2024 and 20 percent in 2025, it said.

GCL Group has vowed to continuously invest in solar and wind power, and energy storage, as well as smart grid networks, to further enhance the competitiveness of new energy solutions.

The goals set in the country's action plan are reasonable and achievable, said Zhu Yicong, senior analyst for renewables and power research at Rystad Energy.

"Renewable (capacity) installations in China have maintained a high pace since 2023, and the trend is continuing, supported by a number of under-construction or planned large-scale renewable base projects," she said.

"We've seen that quite a few large-scale renewable base projects have begun operating in recent months, with several starting construction. Pushing renewable base projects will help the country greatly in achieving its carbon goals," she said.

Longi Green Energy Technology Co Ltd, a leading enterprise in the photovoltaic industry, said the government's commitment to energy conservation and carbon reduction highlights its determination for an energy transition.

Expanding the scale of new energy development will create massive opportunities for the photovoltaic as well as the hydropower and wind power industries, which, in turn, will optimize the power grid, including power generation and transmission, said Kevin Liu, president of China unit at Longi.

During the process of energy transition, China is laying a solid foundation for achieving its goals through meticulous management, providing strong support for high-quality economic development, he said.

According to Liu, China's commitment to a sustainable energy transition promises robust growth and innovation in the clean energy sector.

The company has been stepping up efforts in research and innovation. It broke the world record in November with a new conversion efficiency of 33.9 percent for silicon-perovskite tandem solar cells. Conversion efficiency is a crucial indicator and benchmark for evaluating the potential of photovoltaic technologies.

According to Zhu from Rystad Energy, along with surging renewable capacity installations, solar and wind curtailment rates are also rising.

This makes the improvement of the grid's ability to adapt renewable generation, strengthening of long-distance transmission networks, as well as development of energy storage crucial in achieving the goal of nonfossil fuel generation, Zhu said.

By the end of the first quarter, China had 52.5 GW of pumped storage capacity and 35.3 GW of new energy storage capacity, with a strong under-construction or planned project pipeline to support near-term capacity growth, she added.