Bioenergy, Hydropower, Solar, Wind Power

China’s renewable energy installed capacity grew 12 percent across all sources in 2018

As of the end of 2018, China’s renewable energy installation capacity had reached 728 GW, an increase of 12 percent from a year earlier, according to statistics released by China’s National Energy Administration. This breaks down into 352 GW (up 2.5 percent) for hydro, 184 GW (up 12.4 percent) for wind, 174 GW (up 34 percent) for photovoltaic (PV) and 17.8 GW (up 20.7 percent) for biomass. Renewable energy accounted for 38.3 percent of the country’s total installed power capacity, a rise of 1.7 percentage points. 

Power generation from renewable energy sources reached 1,870 TWh in 2018, an increase of 170 TWh and making up 26.7 percent of the country’s total. Hydro contributed 1,200 TWh (up 3.2 percent), wind – 366 TWh (up 20 percent), PV – 177.5 TWh (up 50 percent) and biomass – 90.6 TWh (up 14 percent). 

Newly-added installed capacity for hydro power generation was approx. 8.54 GW. The lion’s share was found in Yunnan (3.92 GW), Sichuan (1.55 GW) and Guangdong (0.90 GW), with the three provinces combined contributing 74.6 percent of the total. The country’s average utilization rate of hydropower reached 95 percent during the year. 

Continuing its steady growth, newly-added installed capacity for wind power generation reached 20.59 GW in 2018, with new capacity in the central eastern and southern regions accounting for approx. 47 percent of the total. The wind curtailment rate averaged 7 percent, down 5 percentage points while in Jilin and Gansu provinces it declined more than 14 percentage points, and, in the provinces stretching across the north of the country – Inner Mongolia, Liaoning, Heilongjiang and Xinjiang – the rates dropped over 5 percentage points. 

Newly-added installed capacity for PV power generation reached 44.26 GW in 2018, the second highest in history. Of the total, 23.3 GW came from centralized PV power stations while the remaining 20.96 GW originated from distributed PV. The PV curtailment rate averaged 3 percent, down 2.8 percentage points. Curtailment issues mainly occurred in Xinjiang and Gansu provinces, which recorded PV curtailment rates of 16 percent and 10 percent respectively, down 6 percentage points and 10 percentage points. 

Newly-added installed capacity for biomass power generation reached 3.05 GW in 2018, bringing the country’s cumulative biomass capacity to more than 17.8 GW. Anhui (0.50 GW), Shandong (0.47 GW), Guangdong (0.42 GW) and Hunan (0.24 GW) provinces claimed the top four positions. Cumulatively, the four leading provinces were Shandong (2.58 GW), Zhejiang (1.80 GW), Anhui (1.67 GW) and Jiangsu (1.64 GW).

In 2019, China will continue to advance its new strategy focused on energy security. With the aim of generating 15 percent of its energy from non-fossil fuel sources by 2020 and 20 percent by 2030, the country plans to take proactive measures to further the expansion of facilities that can deliver high-quality renewable energy.