June 2, 2022 - China’s major renewable energy planning document through 2025 included a small shift in wording from previous government guidance that could pave the way for more new coal-power generation.
The 14th five-year-plan for renewable energy stipulated that renewable generation would account for more than 50% of incremental power consumption growth during the 2021-25 period. In March 2021, an official at the country’s National Energy Administration said that renewables would account for two-thirds of the increase in electricity consumption through 2025.
The plan was published online on Wednesday by the NEA and several other agencies, but the release date was listed as Oct. 21, 2021. The NEA didn’t respond to a Bloomberg request for comment.
The target downgrade, first reported by energy industry publication Nengjian, could allow for more coal power to meet incremental demand. China has said it plans to let consumption of the dirtiest fossil fuel increase until 2025 before beginning to reduce it as Beijing aims to peak emissions by 2030 before eventually reaching net zero by 2060.
“It seems the 50% share is revised down from what the official mentioned last year informally,” said Qin Yan, an analyst with Refinitiv. “It took seven months for the renewable plan to be finally released after being finalized last October, there were likely some adjustments and fine tuning due to the power shortage last autumn and energy security concerns following the Russia-Ukraine conflicts.”
The planning document also mentioned that renewable generation should account for more than 50% of incremental primary energy demand through 2025, the same target that the NEA announced in March 2021.