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Report | 2021

China Zero-Carbon Electricity Growth in the 2020s

A Vital Step Toward Carbon Neutrality

By RMIEnergy Transitions Commission
Download the report below

President Xi’s announcement that China will pursue a zero-carbon economy before 2060 set a bold target for the nation. A cornerstone of this will be shifting China’s electric fleet to nearly all zero-carbon electricity. And because of the timeline needed for the transition of the economy, what happens with China’s electricity system in the 2020s will be vital to peak emissions before 2030 and to the credibility of the 2060 target.

China Zero-Carbon Electricity Growth in the 2020s takes a look at the economic and technical issues involved with China’s coming transition to zero-carbon electricity. It finds that a system that uses renewables and other zero-carbon sources for the vast majority of China’s power is imminently technically feasible and can supply the vast amounts of electricity that is needed to fuel China’s growing economy. And with the right supporting resources, this system can supply power 24/7, 365 days a year.

It also examines the economic case for zero-carbon power, finding that solar and wind offer lower prices than coal or gas. This means that this transition can be cheaper than business-as-usual and can help pave the way for the nation’s evolution into a fully developed, wealthy nation.

China Zero-Carbon Electricity Growth in the 2020s spells out what needs to be done to ensure that China maximizes these benefits. It lays out a path to address the challenges to rapidly deploying and integrating higher levels of solar, wind, and other zero-carbon sources. This includes a list of specific policy recommendations for making President Xi’s bold pledge a reality on the ground, and to help build a cleaner, better future for China and the world.