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China can double renewable energy share to 26% by 2030: IRENA report

CTBR Staff Writer Published 25 November 2014

A new report by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) has revealed that China can double its existing use of renewable energy to 26% by 2030 with an expected annual investment of $145bn.

Backed by the China National Renewable Energy Centre, the report says China can expand renewables in the power sector from 20% to 40% by 2030, making it the largest renewable energy user globally.

IRENA director-general Adnan Amin said: "As the largest energy consumer in the world, China must play a pivotal role in the global transition to a sustainable energy future.

"China's energy use is expected to increase 60 per cent by 2030. How China meets that need will determine whether or not the world can curb climate change."

China has recently unveiled targets to peak CO2 emissions around 2030, if possible to peak early, and increase the non-fossil fuel share of all energy to about 20% by 2030.

The US and China have agreed to strengthen cooperation on climate and clean energy to achieve their goals.

Amin said: "China can continue its leadership in renewable energy by accelerating action in this area. If China acts now to implement more renewable energy, it can reduce air pollution, enhance energy security, benefit its economy, and play a leading role in fighting climate change."

However, with the existing policies in place, the share of renewables in China's energy mix will only increase to 17% by 2030.

According to IRENA, an annual increase of $54bn investment will see renewables account for 26% of the country's energy mix by 2030

The increasing renewable share will save about $228bn annually by 2030 when accounting for factors like human health and reduced emissions.

China installed more renewable energy capacity in 2013 when compared to Europe and the rest of Asia Pacific region combined.