Greenpeace: Strong Policies Needed to Fulfill Wind and Solar Potential

Press release - 2011-06-16
China can continue to lead the global wind power sector if it has the support of favourable renewable energy policies as part of the 12th Five-Year Plan, said Greenpeace and the Chinese Renewable Energy Industries Association (CREIA) today in a jointly released report China Wind Power Outlook 2011.

As overarching regulations are drafted into China’s development blueprint, Greenpeace calls for strong plans on the implementation of renewable energy to help the wind power sector transition from its phase of rapid growth to healthy long-term development. At the same time, China’s solar photovoltaic (PV) power sector also has the potential to develop rapidly, provided it is supported with the right policies in the 12th Five-Year Plan.

“In 2010, China became the world’s leading nation in installed wind energy capacity, with a total of 44.73 GW,” noted Li Junfeng, secretary general of CREIA. “And it has enormous potential for further development. Wind power will be instrumental in achieving the national target for non-fossil fuel energies to make up 15% of the energy mix by 2020 – if not before.”

However, strong, positive government policies are needed to sustain wind power’s continued healthy development after a period of rapid growth in the last five years. Though large in size, China’s wind farms lag far behind those in other countries in both electricity production and grid connection.

“Electricity shortages are always a problem in the summer, and this year it is particularly worse,” said Li Ang, Greenpeace Climate and Energy Campaigner. “Yet there are wind farms lying idle throughout northern China with no way of delivering their electricity. The government needs to urgently resolve the bottleneck in grid connection – the biggest problem facing wind power today, and a potential obstacle for solar as well.”

Rigorous government policies are also needed for China’s solar photovoltaic sector to achieve rapid growth in the next five years. Currently, over 95% of the PV panels produced are exported. Aside from the limited domestic market, other obstacles include insufficient investment in research and development, redundant production and lack of ambitious long-term goals. For solar PV to become a significant part of China’s energy mix, the government needs to work to lower production costs as well as establish ambitious goals, pricing policies and mandatory grid connections.

“Decisive government policies helped the wind energy sector become a global leader,” said Li Ang. “Now PV needs the same support, backed up by concrete policies, to fulfill its potential. With nuclear power in doubt and rising oil prices, now is the perfect time for the government to send the right signal to China’s renewable energy industries. Wind and solar can transform China’s current coal-reliant energy mix and provide clean, safe and low-carbon electricity – but only with government willpower and action.”

Related Report

China Wind Power Outlook 2001 (Summary)

Contact Information:

  • Huang Wei, Greenpeace Media Officer Office:
    +86 (010) 6554 6931 ext. 157

  • Li Ang, Greenpeace Climate and Energy Campaigner Office:
    +86 (010) 6554 6931 ext. 129

  • Tang Wenqing, CREIA member Office:
    +86 (010) 6800 2617