SHANGHAI (Reuters) – China generated 53% of the world’s total coal-fired power generation in 2020, nine percentage points more than five years earlier, despite climate promises and the construction of hundreds of power plants in renewable energy, a global data study showed Monday.
Although China added a record 71.7 gigawatts (GW) of wind power and 48.2 GW of solar power last year, it was the only G20 country to see a significant jump in production. coal, according to a study by Ember, a London-based company based in London. climate research group.
China’s coal-fired output grew 1.7 percent or 77 terawatt-hours, enough to bring its share of the world’s total coal-fired power to 53 percent, from 44 percent in 2015, according to the report.
The country has pledged to reduce its dependence on coal in order to peak climate-warming greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 and become “carbon neutral” by 2060.
“China is like a big ship, and it takes time to turn in another direction,” said Muyi Yang, senior analyst at Ember and one of the report’s authors.
So far, China has not been able to find enough clean energy to meet the rapidly increasing demand for electricity. Renewable energy only accounted for about half of the growth in energy consumption in China last year.
New coal-fired power plants reached 38.4 GW in 2020, more than three times the amount built by the rest of the world, according to a February research report.
China has steadily reduced the share of coal in total energy consumption from around 70% ten years ago to 56.8% last year. But absolute production volumes increased another 19% over the 2016-2020 period, Ember calculated.
In its 2021-2025 five-year plan, China pledged to “rationally control the scale and pace of development of coal-fired electricity construction,” and Yang said more stringent measures may follow.
“I think there will be a cap on coal consumption, and that will have a major impact on the future trajectory of coal power,” he said.