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. 

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Nanjing Shanglong Communications Liu Yuanyuan is Director of Operations and Co-Founder of Nanjing Shanglong Communications. Liu Yuanyuan previously held the position of office manager at the London Financial Times' China translation and editorial bureau in Nanjing overseeing 33 translators, editors and IT support personnel. Ms. Liu brought her many years experience of delivering, under deadline, more than 200 English-language news summaries of articles selected from Chinese-language newspapers and newswires daily as well as supervising the timely completion of 500,000+ word English-to-Chinese translation and localization projects to her role as co-founder and general manager at Shanglong. Ms. Liu joined Shanglong in 2002. In 2006, she added China Business News Service to the product suite – the service provides a continuous flow of well-researched and documented news articles to trade publishers and industry-specific websites looking to supplement their content with the latest news from China in their sector. She manages Shanglong's staff of translators, editors, desktop publishing specialists and support staff, selected from the top universities across China and well versed in the art of translation and in the technology of DTP. Ms. Liu graduated from the People’s Liberation Army Institute of International Relations - China’s elite military academy responsible for the training of the country’s foreign language specialists.

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