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China takes lead in renewable energy as costs plunge

(2016-11-04)China's renewable energy spending constitutes a third of the world's investment in the sector, according to Adnan Z. Amin, director-general of the International Renewable Energy Agency.

China's total investment in renewable energy last year was $102.9 billion, up 17 percent from the same period the year before, Amin told the International Forum on Energy Transitions held in Suzhou from Oct 30 to 31.
International investment in renewable energy was $330 billion last year.

"China is taking the lead in renewable energy development. Last year, China's newly installed capacity in wind and hydropower accounted for more than half of the world's total. Its newly installed photovoltaic capacity accounted for one-third of the world's total," he says.

The key to renewable energy development is to lower the costs. The infrastructure cost of photovoltaic power has gone down by 70 percent from 2005 and needs to drop further, says Qu Xiaoye, president and founder of Canadian Solar Inc, based in Ontario.

"China's photovoltaic power accounts for 1 percent of the country's total power. In Germany, the proportion is 7 to 8 percent. With effective cost reduction, photovoltaic power has great room for growth," Qu says.

According to Qu, every 1 percentage point reduction in cost will lead to a 5 percent reduction in price per kilowatt hour. This can mainly be achieved by technological research to make solar panels more cost-effective.

Qu says that the on-grid price of photovoltaic power might be lowered to the same level as power generated using fossil fuels by 2022.

"Another major cost is financing. Most of the photovoltaic companies lease facilities, which takes up 40 percent of revenue. Therefore, a more flexible and diversified financing system is needed for renewable energy," Qu says.

According to a report by IRENA released in June, the average cost of photovoltaic power is going to drop by 59 percent by 2025, compared with the 2015 price of $0.5 per kilowatt.

Oceanic and land wind power costs are expected to go down by 35 and 25 percent respectively by 2025, according to IRENA.

China has pledged to increase its share of nonfossil fuels in primary energy consumption from 12 percent in 2015 to 15 percent by 2020 and 20 percent in 2030.
In order to achieve this goal, wind and photovoltaic integration into the national grid would need to be at least 400 million kilowatts in 2020 and 1 billion kilowatts in 2030.

Source:China Daily
Date:Nov 04,2016