By Paul Homewood
The likes of Al Gore and the BBC love to reel out figures supposedly showing how quickly China is building new renewable capacity.
Anyone not familiar with the actual data might think that the Chinese will be running half of their economy on renewable energy in the not too distant future.
As we know though, anything Gore or the BBC tell us needs to be treated with the utmost suspicion.
Fortunately we have the actual numbers for last year from the China Electricity Council, courtesy of the China Energy Portal:
New capacity of 19 and 53 GW of wind and solar respectively was added last year. Based on the actual load factors of 21% and 10%, this would be expected to generate 83 Twh in a full year. Given that China’s total generation was 6417 Twh, the extra power from wind and solar would contribute just 1.3%.
However, we need to note that total generation actually rose by 393 Twh year on year. So the extra capacity from wind and solar is only able to supply a fifth of that.
As the data for 2017 shows, most of the extra demand came from thermal, which still supplies 71% of the total.
In other words, China is actually going backwards in terms of curtailing use of fossil fuels.
How does all of this compare with the UK?
At 339 Twh a year, the UK system is a nineteenth the size of China’s.
Here, wind and solar capacity are currently 19 and 13 GW respectively. At China’s scale this would equate to 351 and 247 GW.
Yet, despite all of the hype, the current capacity there is much lower, at 164 and 130 GW.
As for China’s Paris commitment, they promised a very modest 200 and 100 GW of wind and solar in total, way below what we already have in the UK comparatively.
Hardly surprising that China are on target to meet their pledge.
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February 24, 2018 at 06:15AM