China to inspect renewable power consumption to improve offtake

BEIJING, March 23 (Reuters) - China’s energy administration, as part of a drive to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, will inspect renewable power consumption across the country, with the goal of reducing power wastage from non-fossil fuel sources.

China, the world’s biggest emitter of greenhouse gases, has pledged to bring emissions to a peak by 2030 and propel solar and wind power generating capacity to 1,200 gigawatts (GW) from 535 GW in 2020.

“Clean energy utilisation has seen obvious improvement in recent years. But in some regions, clean energy consumption policy is not fully implemented...and consumption is still facing big pressure,” National Energy Administration (NEA) said in a statement on Tuesday.

The inspection, which will run until October, will focus on how much electricity generated by hydropower plants, wind farms and solar stations was not absorbed by power grids during last year and the first half of this year, it said.

China has strived to increase consumption of renewable power by setting the minimum level of power purchased from non-fossil fuel sources at each region, but typically grids lack capacity to absorb all the electricity generated from these sources.

A draft document from the NEA in February showed that grid companies are asked to steadily increase their purchases of non-fossil fuel power to 40% by 2030 from 28.2% in 2020.

The inspection will also assess how grids prioritise which source of power they take, as despite being asked to purchase and receive power from renewable sources, they still sometimes favour coal, partly because supplies are more stable.

Infrastructure to support connecting renewable power supplies to grids will also be inspected.

Power generators and grid firms controlled by State Grid Corp, China Southern Power Grid and Inner Mongolia Power Group are set to be targeted during the inspection. (Reporting by Muyu Xu and Shivani Singh; editing by Simon Cameron-Moore)