Xi reveals major renewable energy projects at COP15
First phase of wind, solar power plants in deserts already started
Published: Oct 12, 2021 10:49 PM
Aerial photo shows solar panels of Qingyang 100 mega watts photovoltaic power project in Qingyang, east China's Anhui Province, Sept. 10, 2021.Photo: Xinhua

Aerial photo shows solar panels of Qingyang 100 mega watts photovoltaic power project in Qingyang, east China's Anhui Province, Sept. 10, 2021.Photo: Xinhua

Chinese President Xi Jinping on Tuesday revealed major wind power and photovoltaic bases in sandy areas, rocky areas and deserts, saying that the first phase of projects with an installed capacity of approximately 100 million kilowatts has recently started construction, according to the Xinhua News Agency. 

Xi made the remarks while addressing the leaders' summit of the 15th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity via video link in Beijing. The President said that China will continue to readjust its industrial structure and energy mix and vigorously develop renewable energy, according to Xinhua.

The scale of the projects revealed on Tuesday is enormous in comparison with projects in other countries. The first phrase of 100 gigawatts of wind and solar is bigger than all of the wind and solar power in India, according to Bloomberg.

The revelation of the mega renewable energy projects instantly boosted market sentiment. On Tuesday, shares of major solar firms, including Trina and Sungrow, rose from their daily lows, outperforming a fall of 1.25 percent in the benchmark Shanghai Composite Index.

Analysts said that the announcement showed China's firm determination to pursue renewable energy, as it strives to achieve its carbon peak and neutrality targets, and will boost the renewable energy industry.

Lin Boqiang, director of the China Center for Energy Economics Research at Xiamen University, told the Global Times on Tuesday that the announcement was part of the "grand base project" and it is set to support China's environmental protection goals.

The project may be part of China's "grand base project" that was discussed by markets recently, an official with the China Photovoltaic Industry Association told the Global Times on Tuesday, without providing further details.

An industry insider told the Global Times on Tuesday that China's grand project will focus on deserts in regions such as Northwest China's Qinghai Province, the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region and North China's Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region. 

The three areas have all released plans for renewable energy projects for the 14th Five-Year Plan (2021-25) period. For example, in Xinjiang, installed capacity of renewable energy in the region is planned to reach 82.4 million kilowatts by 2025, while Inner Mongolia plans for its renewable energy capacity to exceed 100 million kilowatts, according to media reports. The regions have also approved or commenced construction for several main renewable energy projects, media reports showed.

For instance, the Kubuqi Desert in the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region enjoys effective sunlight of more than 3,180 hours each year on average. Chinese energy company Elion has built 710MW with an investment of 5 billion yuan in Kubuqi, generating power of 1.25 billion kilowatt hours.

On Friday, at an executive meeting of the State Council, China's cabinet, Premier Li Keqiang also called for ramped-up drive for the building of massive wind and solar power generation bases in deserts, sandy and rocky areas, as part of measures to ensure energy security and the stability of supply chains.

The "grand base project" is said to involve installing an additional 400 gigawatts in capacity, and around half will be completed during the 14th Five-Year Plan period (2021-25). That will push China's annual installed capacity (including solar and wind) from 100GW to 130-150GW during 2021-25, a 30-50 percent rise from previous estimates, financial news outlet said.

In 2020, despite the COVID-19 pandemic and ongoing climate crisis, the world's installed PV capacity was 760.4GW, according to the International Energy Agency. China topped with 48.2GW, far surpassing the second place EU (19.6GW) and third place US (19.2GW).