Tomorrow Investor

China Soon Set to Approach Critical Point in Shift to Renewables


With a massive turnout and the participation of some of the biggest players in the electric vehicle (EV) and renewable energy sectors, the sixteenth International Photovoltaic Power Generation and Smart Energy Conference and Exhibition (SNEC PV Power Expo) held in Shanghai, China last week was a resounding success. 

However, not many were aware that it also marked a milestone in China’s journey towards a complete shift to renewable energy.

Aside from numerous Chinese solar power providers, participants at the expo included the likes of American EV pioneer Tesla; Contemporary Amperex Technology Company Ltd, the world’s largest EV battery producer; and China’s biggest EV manufacturer BYD. 

Attendees also included a number of representatives from leading European electric utility providers who were in the market for fresh technologies in the field of solar power generation.

Hitting the Tipping Point

The record attendance at the Expo is seen as an indication that China is drawing close to a milestone in its shift to green energy a good five years before its 2030 emissions target.

Indeed, the country’s industrial sector has apparently cottoned on to how producing solar panels at lower prices can be more cost-effective than relying on coal to power heavy industry. Likewise, domestic motorists note how EVs are easier and more fun to drive than conventional fossil fuel-reliant vehicles; indeed, EVs made up over a third of China’s car sales for April 2023.

The energy-focused BloombergNEF also adjusted its 2023 solar installations forecast for China whose solar power capacity is expected to be three times greater than it was back in 2021. This essentially means that China’s use of fossil fuels may soon begin a lasting decline as early as next year, based on data from the country’s Center for Research on Energy and Clear Air.

Hitting this tipping point means that the country notorious for being the biggest contributor to the global total of greenhouse gas emissions could achieve its net zero targets by 2050 if it continues to beat its current climate targets and if it increases its investments into decarbonization by $38 billion. This will help the country speed up its shift to green energy, and improve related aspects like power storage, carbon capture technologies, and widen the scope of renewable energy sources.

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