China to invest $361bn in clean power by 2020

Five-year plan sets country on path to get 15% of its energy from non-fossil sources by the end of the decade

Wind turbines in Xinjjang, western China (Flickr/ Kaj17)

Wind turbines in Xinjjang, western China (Flickr/ Kaj17)

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China is set to invest 2.5 trillion yuan (US$361bn) into clean power generation by 2020, under a blueprint published on Thursday.

The National Energy Administration said the renewables push would create more than 13m jobs.

The latest plank in a strategy to cut reliance on polluting coal came as a thick toxic smog forced the capital to close highways.

Together with nuclear plans, it sets the country on a path to get more than 15% of its total energy from non-fossil fuel sources by the end of the decade, the NEA said – a milestone to the 20% target for 2030 promised in Beijing’s official contribution to the UN climate deal.

Coal will still account for more than half of installed electricity capacity over the period, according to the administration.

Some climate analysts are hopeful the clean energy transition can go faster, as technology costs fall and pressure mounts to tackle dangerous air pollution.

The total global spend on renewable energy (without nuclear) in 2015 was $286bn.

Report: China reveals 2016 coal power crackdown

Read more on: China | Fossil Fuels | Renewables