China’s energy map to 2025 plans massive boost in power capacity

China, the world's biggest greenhouse gases emitter, has said it would achieve carbon neutrality by 2060. PHOTO: REUTERS

BEIJING (BLOOMBERG) – China is targeting a huge increase in power capacity over the next five years as it tries to ensure energy security while staying on course to reach long-term climate goals.  

The country aims to have 3,000 gigawatts of generating capacity installed by 2025, up from 2,200 at the end of 2020, according its 14th five-year plan for energy development released Monday (March 21).

The 800-gigawatt growth goal is about twice the size of India’s entire power fleet, according to BloombergNEF data.  

The country also plans to boost gas production and keep oil output at high levels as it seeks to improve energy security amid rising global commodity costs, while also laying the groundwork for cleaner energy sources to eventually help it meet its climate goals.

The ambitious power capacity target comes as China ramps up renewable installations, which operate for fewer hours over the year than traditional thermal plants and therefore require more capacity to generate the same amount of electricity.  

Other takeaways from the plan include: Crude oil output will be lifted back to 200 million tonnes a year and keep it at that level.

Production fell below that level in 2016 after oil prices crashed, but the industry had already nearly reached the target as of last year.  

Natural gas production should rise to 230 billion cubic metres by 2025, up from 205 billion last year, and storage capacity for the fuel should be between 55 billion and 60 billion cubic metres, or 13 per cent of consumption.

The country will also seek to increase coalbed methane production to 6 billion cubic metres.  

Clean energy is expected to grow along a previously announced path, accounting for 20 per cent of total consumption by 2025 and 25 per cent by 2030.

No new targets were given for wind and solar installations.  

Coal power will be relied on as a flexible power source amid increased installations of intermittent renewable energy, with 200 gigawatts of capacity upgraded for that use by 2025, while another 30 gigawatts of inefficient coal plants will be shuttered.

Pumped hydro storage will reach 62 gigawatts by 2025 with another 60 gigawatts under construction by then.  

China will continue building out its grid, adding more than 40 gigawatts of power transmission capacity by 2025 with construction starting on another 60 gigawatts of inter-provincial or inter-regional systems. 

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