The Chinese government has issued medium and long term plans for the development of renewable energy (RE) which set targets of meeting 10% of primary energy demand with renewables by 2010 and 15% by 2020.
Encouraged by these targets and China's RE Law, the renewable energy industry in the country has boomed. However, looking ahead to 2030, renewable energy still faces challenges, including high costs, the need for resource assessment, limitations in the grid and other factors. Before this project, China lacked a clear target or strategy for RE towards 2030.
The purpose of the project was to undertake the preliminary research on the role that RE could play in China by 2030, underpinning a concrete RE target of 30% with a thorough analysis of economic development targets, energy resource availability, and environmental factors, and providing a sound reference for government policymaking.
The implementing partner for this project was the Centre of Renewable Energy Development (CRED) of the Energy Research Institute (ERI), which in turn is part of the Chinese National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC). The project was strongly supported by the National Energy Administration (NEA), the government authority in charge of setting out China’s energy policy. The CRED conducted workshops with industry experts and government agencies to collect comments and feedback on its research. A draft final report, the ‘Roadmap to Meet 30% Energy Demands in China by 2030’ was presented at a final workshop attended by, among others, a representative from the World Bank, the Deputy Director of the New and Renewable Energy Office of the NEA and senior officials from the Planning Office of the NEA, the Energy Research Institute of the NDRC and the R&D Centre of the State Council. The Roadmap attracted high-level attention within the Chinese government authorities.
The finalised Roadmap, submitted in February 2011, covered the status of renewables in China as well as the status of energy consumption, the strategic importance of and the potential for renewable energy in China. It set out a clear roadmap for RE development towards 2030, with three scenarios for high, medium and low investment leading to a renewable energy share of 29.7%, 23.4% and 18.7% respectively by 2030. The final report was highly appreciated by the NEA.
In November 2014, the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) published a report called ‘Remap 2030 – A Renewable Energy Roadmap for China’, which contains projections very much in line with the output of this project. The main Chinese party providing IRENA with guidance and information was the NEA. This suggests that the NEA is still using the CRED Roadmap report as a key reference for its renewable energy projections to 2030.