China approves 20.76 GW of subsidy-free solar, wind power projects

FILE PHOTO: A man rides an electric scooter past a wind turbine in Shanghai, China August 11, 2017. REUTERS/Aly Song

BEIJING (Reuters) - China approved its first batch of subsidy-free wind and solar projects with a combined capacity of 20.76 gigawatts (GW), the country’s top planning agency said on Wednesday.

That follows China’s vow in January to launch a series of unsubsidized renewable power projects this year to tackle a payment backlog amid a decline in construction costs in the sector.

The National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) also urged grid companies to sign long-term power purchase contracts with operators of the unsubsidized renewable projects, it said in a statement.

A total of 56 wind power projects, 168 solar power projects and 26 pilot distributed renewable projects in 16 cities and regions in China were approved by the NDRC.

By April, China had installed wind power capacity of 280 GW and solar capacity 130 GW, official data showed.

Reporting by Muyu Xu and David Stanway; editing by Christian Schmollinger