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While mayors across the United States are pledging to establish a future of purely renewable electricity, China is already making 100 percent renewable energy a reality. Last month, a province in China ran on clean energy alone for seven full days. Although our customers here at Think Energy may not be directly affected by China’s energy efforts, it’s always good to be informed about what’s happening in the world of energy.
From June 17 to June 23, the Chinese province of Qinghai successfully ran on 100 percent renewable energy. This experience served as a trial for the State Grid Corporation of China, aiming to test the viability of long-term Chinese renewable energy dependence. During the course of the week, Qinghai generated 1.1 billion kilowatt hours (kWh) of energy for its 5.6 million and counting residents. A full 72 percent of this energy came from hydropower, with the rest being obtained from solar and wind. Crazy enough, the total amount of renewable energy generated would be equal to burning 535,000 tons of coal.
This past May, the total installed capacity of Qinghai’s power grid was 23.4 million kilowatts and about 82 percent of it came from solar, wind and hydropower sources. By 2020, it’s expected that the capacity for clean energy will rise to 35 million kilowatts. A rise like this could mean supplying 110 billion kWh of renewable energy in China every year.
Outside of Qinghai, China as a whole has expressed a strong interest in moving toward renewable and clean energy. For starters, China already holds the title as the world’s largest manufacturer of solar panels. Additionally, President Xi Jingping pledged for China’s clean energy to make up 20 percent of the country’s total energy supply by 2030.
As for China’s clean energy investment, the government promised to allocate 2.5 trillion yuan (the equivalent of US$370 billion) in the next three years to reach its renewable energy goals. This amount only strengthens its continued commitment of investing in China’s renewable energy. Back in 2014, China’s green energy investments rose by 32 percent to US$89.5 billion, which was 73 percent more than the United States’ investment. With such great investments, it’s believed that China’s green energy initiatives will create 13 million jobs.
From Qinghai’s success in its weeklong trial, to China investing in renewable energy more than ever before, it’s clear that the country is moving toward a future of cleaner energy. With renewable energy efforts becoming more and more prevalent across the world, it’ll be interesting to see what advancements come next.