China's energy system is in rapid flux. China is by far the world's largest producer and consumer of coal, yet renewable energy has been booming on an unanticipated scale. For many years China has been the world's leader in installed wind power capacity, and the country also recently became number one in photovoltaics. In 2016 alone, China installed more than 30,000 MW of PV solar panels. By way of comparison, Germany's total installed PV capacity is approximately 40,000 MW.
While Chinese renewables growth is promising, the country faces immense challenges. Existing regulatory incentives lead to significant renewable energy curtailment, and China's distribution and transmission grids are in need of major investment. In its 13th Five Year Plan, the Chinese government is seeking to tackle the problems facing its energy system. Significant reforms to the power market are being planned. The Chinese government has asked Agora Energiewende to provide assistance with the development of energy policy. To this end, we are partnering with the Chinese National Renewable Energy Center (CNREC), a think tank that is part of the Chinese Energy Research Institute (ERI). Additional partners include the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) in the US, DEA in Denmark and DENA in Germany. As part of these partnerships, Agora Energiewende is coordinating projects on the following topics: “The Role of Conventional Energy”, “The Design of the Electricity Market”, and “Strategic Communication”.
Our work is being financed by GIZ and is initially limited to the end of 2019.