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China Not Rushing For Renewables

November 10, 2013

By Paul Homewood




Bishop Hill pointed out a comment by Lord Deben on the Today programme the other day.

If you look at what China’s doing…China’s actually moving a lot faster than we are now, and it’s actually moving towards a peak in its emission in the mid, maybe even in the early, 2020s.

So what are China doing with renewables, and are they outpacing the rest of us?

The above Bloomberg report talks about some impressively large numbers – $294 bn, 100 gigawatts and so on. We must of course remember that China is a huge country, and therefore must put these numbers into some kind of perspective. So let’s take the 100 gigawatts quoted for wind power and do some sums.


100 GW x  8760 Hours pa = 876 TWh

Assuming 25% utilisation of capacity = 219 TWh pa.

China’s total electricity output in 2011 was 4692 TWh

So, 219 TWh = 4.7% of total generation


Last year in the UK, wind power accounted for 5.4% of total power generation, so all of a sudden the Chinese numbers don’t sound quite so impressive.

35 GW of solar is even less impressive, accounting for not much more than 1% of China’s needs.

We will have to wait and see what happens in the 2020’s, but there is no sign yet that China are racing ahead in the renewable stakes. Anyone who suggests otherwise has either had the wool pulled over their eyes or needs to get a calculator.



  1. Brian H permalink
    November 11, 2013 12:56 am

    45% CO2 cut by 2020 is both delusory and suicidal. Someone is telling porkies.


  1. China’s “Emission Cuts” Not What They Seem | Watts Up With That?

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