China will lead in new energy by year 2020

Updated: 2015-10-26 11:04

By Hua Shengdun in Washington(China Daily USA)

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China will have the largest share in the renewable energy market in the next decade, driven by generation needs, pollution concerns and a favorable environment policy with ambitious targets, according to analysts from International Energy Agency.

"China would require almost one-third of cumulative new investment after five years. Announcing power sector reforms to support the integration of higher levels of variable renewables should help reinforce their leading position," said Heymi Bahar, renewable energy market analyst at IEA said.

A panel of experts forecast global trends of the renewable energy market in the coming decades at the Brookings Institution in Washington on Thursday.

"China has very good resources, the cost of generating renewable resources, compared to anywhere else in the world, is basically the lowest in terms of wind and solar power, and that is really important for the market and system integration," said Michael Waldron, renewable energy market analyst at IEA.

"Hydro power is also a great help in facilitating the process for China. Because it is building huge amount of hydro power storage over the next decade which can improve the electricity storage technology," Waldron added.

The latest medium-term market report on renewable energy from IEA said China alone accounts for 40 percent of global renewable capacity growth, an amount triple the current total power capacity of the United Kingdom.

Robust expansion is expected in onshore wind, whose cumulative capacity more than doubles, and solar power, whose cumulative capacity almost quadruples. The annual growth of hydropower slows, but cumulative hydropower capacity growth is as large as the current total power capacity of Australia.

Waldron said a big step in the development of the renewable energy market was also taken recently when the Chinese president said they wanted to make renewable power a priorit, which encourages both institutional and regulatory reforms to integrate renewable energy into the power grid to decarbonize the sector.

Energy reform could be difficult in terms of transition from coal-based traditional energy industry to the renewable energy market, according to the senior fellow at the Energy Security and Climate Initiative at Brookings Institution.

"We are facing the conflict where renewable energy is introduced to the system threatening to push some of the coal out," Waldron said.

Pan Jialiang contributed to this story.