China committed to keep energy consumption within 5 billion tonnes of standard coal equivalent by 2020, according to a draft of its new five-year plan published on March 5.
It’s the first time that the country has put a cap on energy consumption in a five year plan, reflecting the importance China is placing on cleaning up its environment, says the Wall Street Journal. China also aims to cut carbon intensity – the amount of emissions per unit of GDP growth – by 18 percent over the same period. Additionally, its water resources will be monitored by a national system, and a national cap-and-trade system will be launched in 2017.
According to China’s Financial Research Institute at the State Council’s Research Center, the country needs $440 billion of investment annually in the next five years to support its green energy ambitions, says China Daily.
Total energy consumption was 4.3 billion tonnes of standard coal in 2015, up 0.9 percent from the previous year, according to the most recent data from the National Bureau of Statistics. Coal consumption in China fell 2.2 percent in 2015 as a result of stricter pollution controls as well as a downturn in demand, says Reuters.
China was the world’s largest clean energy investor in 2015, increasing its investment by 17 percent to $110 billion, according to BNEF. It broke records in both wind and solar in 2015, installing 32.5 GW of wind and 18.3 GW of solar, according to the National Bureau of Statistics.
Renewable energy is now a mainstream part of China’s energy mix, driven by “quality concerns, climate concerns, and locked in by historical deal with the U.S. last year, moving to 20 percent of zero-carbon electricity by 2020,” says Michael Liebreich, chairman of BNEF.