China's renewable power capacity up 9.5% year-on-year in June

BEIJING (Reuters) - China’s total renewable power capacity rose 9.5% to 750 gigawatts (GW) in the year to June amid Beijing’s push to boost clean energy consumption as part of its anti-pollution campaign.

FILE PHOTO - Wind turbines and solar panels are seen at a wind and solar power plant by State Power Investment Corporation (SPIC) in Zhangjiakou, Hebei province, China October 29, 2018. REUTERS/Stringer

The country added 1.82 GW of hydropower capacity, 9.09 GW of wind capacity and 11.4 GW of solar capacity in the first six months of this year, the National Energy Administration (NEA) said at a news briefing on Thursday.

As of June, China had total hydropower capacity of around 354 GW, total wind capacity of 193 GW and solar capacity of 186 GW, the NEA said.

The increasing capacity has pushed electricity generated from renewable sources to 887.9 billion kilowatt hours (kWh) in the first half of 2019, up 14% on the year.

China has been trying to take action against a problem known in the industry as “curtailment”, in which a renewable energy plant is unable to operate at full capacity because of oversupply or transmission failings.

“The issue of power being wasted is continually improving as the government actively adopts measures to encourage consumption of renewable energy,” said Li Chuangjun, deputy director of the renewable energy department at the NEA at the briefing.

Average wind curtailment rates were lowered by 4 percentage points to 4.7% in the first half of this year and solar curtailment rates fell 1.2 percentage points to 2.4%.

The NEA also said power consumption was slowing in China amid an upgrade of its industrial structure.

“It is an inevitable trend for China to shift to a mid-speed increase in electricity consumption from high-speed growth,” said Li Fulong, head of the development and planning office of the NEA.

In the January to June period, power consumption in industrial sectors accounted for 68% of total use in the country, down 1.2 percentage points from the same period of last year, according to the NEA.

Reporting by Muyu Xu and Shivani Singh; Editing by Jan Harvey