Renewables get a China push
Updated: 2014-06-05 06:51
By Lan Lan (China Daily USA)
Nation leads the pack in sectors like solar, wind amid decline in global spending
China remained the leading investor and proponent of renewable energy in 2013, even as global investment fell sharply, according to a report.
The Global Status Report, released on Wednesday by the Renewable Energy Policy Network for the 21st Century, said China invested more in renewable energy than all of Europe did in 2013.
Although the renewables sector continues to offer huge growth potential in China, it also faces some constraints like overcapacity, experts said.
New investment in renewables fell for the second consecutive year globally in 2013, partly because of uncertainties over incentives in Europe and the United States, as well as sharp reductions in technology costs.
Investment from developed countries fell to the lowest level in four years, with Europe's investment in renewables falling by 44 percent in 2013 compared to the levels in 2012.
Last year also saw an end to eight consecutive years of rising renewable energy investment in developing countries. Total investment by developing countries in renewables was $93 billion in 2013, down 14 percent from 2012.
China's new investment in renewable energy was $56.3 billion in 2013, accounting for 61 percent of the developing-country investment in renewables.
Lin Boqiang, director of the China Center for Energy Economics Research at Xiamen University, said growth was further depressed by the economic slowdown in developed countries and the rapid growth of the previous years.
Ten years ago, most of the deployment and manufacturing of renewable energy occurred in Europe, the US and Japan. Since then, markets, manufacturing and investment have shifted to other regions, said the report.
"China has become the world leader in renewable manufacturing and installed capacity, having increased investment in the sector nearly every year for the past decade," it said.
Global new investment in renewable power and fuels was around $214.4 billion in 2013, according to data provided by Bloomberg New Energy Finance, down 14 percent relative to 2012, and 23 percent lower than the record level in 2011.
China was home to about 24 percent of the world's renewable power capacity, including an estimated 260 gigawatts of hydropower.
The solar PV market, however, had a record year. China saw spectacular growth, accounting for nearly one-third of global capacity added, followed by Japan and the United States.
"As a result of the weak outward market, the solar installed capacity increased significantly in China during the past two years. But the industry still faces problems like overcapacity and excessive reliance on overseas markets," said Lin.
Most of China's renewable energy investments were in solar and wind power projects. At the same time, it was also the leader in terms of the spending on utility-scale projects, followed distantly by the US and the United Kingdom.
By the end of 2013, China, the United States, Brazil, Canada and Germany remained the top countries for total installed renewable electric capacity.
New renewable power capacity surpassed new fossil fuel and nuclear capacity in China for the first time in 2013, the report said.
A wind power farm in Xuyi, Jiangsu province. China's investment in renewable energy in 2013 was $56.3 billion, accounting for 61 percent of total investment by developing countries. Zhou Haijun / For China Daily
(China Daily USA 06/05/2014 page13)