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China’s Wind, Solar Capacity Set to Outshine Coal in 2024

An industry body in China predicted on Tuesday that wind and solar power would surpass coal in installed capacity this year. An annual study by the China Electricity Council (CEC) predicted that by the end of 2024, grid-connected wind and solar would account for approximately 40% of installed power generation capacity, while coal was projected to account for 37%.

At the end of 2023, wind and solar combined accounted for approximately 36% of capacity, while coal accounted for little less than 40%.

According to the CEC's projections, China will have installed wind and solar capacity equal to or greater than 1,300 GW by the end of 2024, well surpassing its official goal of 1,200 GW by 2030.

The CEC also announced that in 2023, for the first time ever, generating capacity from all non-fossil fuel sources, including hydro and nuclear, accounted for more than half of the total.

Although it does not disclose a breakdown of actual power output, coal continues to be the dominant fuel, accounting for about 60% of energy consumed last year.

After a 6.7% increase in 2023, when demand was climbing from a low base due to the pandemic, the CEC predicts a 6% increase in power consumption this year.

It suggested better ways to limit usage, like time-of-use pricing, and warned that electricity supply could be tight during winter and summer peak heating and cooling demand.

In order to facilitate the integration of renewable energy sources into the grid, the CEC has pushed for the rapid development of a capacity payment system by the government. This system would serve to encourage the use of battery storage and other innovative energy storage technologies. It also recommended building pumped hydro storage facilities more quickly.

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