China’s installed wind and solar capacity is expected to overtake coal power production for the first time this year.

According to industry forecasts made in the China Electricity Council’s (CEC) annual report, wind and solar power connected to the grid will account for around 40% of installed capacity by the end of 2024. Meanwhile, coal is expected to supply just 37%.

The fossil fuel still edged wind and solar power in 2023, which combined made up 36% of capacity at the end of the year.

According to the report, China is expected to produce 1.3TW of solar and wind power by the end of 2024, meaning the country will exceed its official target of 1.2TW by 2035 five years ahead of schedule.

China currently possesses more than half the global total installed solar power capacity. According to Power Technology’s parent company, GlobalData, all renewable power sources in China are set to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 11.06% during the period 2020–30.

Despite the gains made in renewable energy production, other sources claim that coal production is still growing in China. A report published by the Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air (CREA) in November last year claimed that since the beginning of 2022, Chinese authorities have granted permits for up to 152GW of coal power and started construction on 92GW of additional capacity. This was ten-times the capacity permitted in the rest of the world in the same period.

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By GlobalData

China has also reinstated import levies on coal to reduce the level of Russian imports and protect its domestic industry. In the first three quarters of last year, production increased by 3%. According to the Chinese state-owned energy company Sinopec, domestic demand will peak in the next two years at around 4.37 billion tonnes.