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China Targets 70 Gigawatts of Solar Power to Cut Coal Reliance

China Targets 70 Gigawatts of Solar Power to Cut Coal Reliance

China, the world’s biggest carbon emitter, plans to speed up solar power development, targeting a more than tripling of installed capacity to 70 gigawatts by 2017 to cut its reliance on coal.

The goal would be double a previous target set for 2015, according to a statement posted today on the National Development and Reform Commission’s website. China also plans to have 150 gigawatts of installed wind power capacity by 2017, 11 gigawatts of biomass power and 330 gigawatts of hydro power.

The plans come as the nation strives to get 13 percent of the energy it consumes from non-fossil fuels. Deadly pollution has forced the government to declare war on smog.

“This suggests the trend that China will develop alternative energy is stable,” Wang Xiaoting, a Hong Kong-based analyst from Bloomberg New Energy Finance, said today by phone. “The new solar target set for 2017 will be easily attained if China keeps the current development pace.”

As part of its goal, China also aims to operate 40 gigawatts of nuclear plants by 2015 and 50 gigawatts by 2017.

China had almost 20 gigawatts of installed solar capacity at the end of last year, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Of all the electricity carried by grids supplying the cities of Beijing, Tianjin and Tangshan, the commission says 10 percent should come from wind by 2015 and 15 percent by 2017. Wind energygenerated 2 percent of the nation’s electricity in 2012, according to data from China’s State Electricity Regulatory Commission.

The government will also increase natural gas output and speed up the development of coal-bed gas and shale gas, according to the statement. China targets natural gas supply capacity of 250 billion cubic meters in 2015 and 330 billion cubic meters in 2017.

Copyright 2014 Bloomberg

Lead image: Solar panels via Shutterstock

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