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China close to setting renewable power quotas for first time

Wind turbines and solar panels in Zhangjiakou, Hebei province. Beijing has set a national target to raise clean energy use to 15 per cent by 2020 and 20 per cent by 2030.


CHINA is close to introducing its first mandatory renewable power quota system by giving detailed targets for each of its regions, the National Energy Administration (NEA) said on Thursday, in a move to boost the use of clean energy in the country.

According to a draft NEA proposal, the central government would start to set minimum targets of renewable energy consumption by region from 2019. Local authorities would monitor compliance by power companies and consumers, according to the draft.

The draft outlines setting regional quotas based on their renewable energy resources, with hydropower-rich Sichuan province in southwest China required to bring renewables to 80 per cent of total power consumption, compared with only 9.5 per cent in coal-dependent Shandong province in the east.

The quota system, opposed by traditional coal-fired power companies, has been under discussion for some time. The draft proposal on Thursday follows two earlier drafts issued in March and September.

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The March version proposed a quota of 91 per cent renewable power consumption in Sichuan and 8.5 per cent in Shandong.

The system aims to lower the rate of wasted renewable power by giving clean energy generators priority access to the grid.

Power from wind, solar and hydropower plants is often lost because its intermittent nature makes it difficult to schedule without disrupting grid operations.

However, the rates of waste, known as curtailment, have been declining.

Companies covered by the scheme, including owners of captive power plants, will be given some preferential treatment if they surpass the quota requirements, such as less onerous enforcement of energy efficiency targets, according to the latest draft.

However, they would be punished if they fail to meet the mandatory targets.

The final quota for each region will be handed out in the first quarter of 2019 and the assessment of policy compliance will start from Jan 1, the document said.

The quota will be increased in 2020 when China looks to increase the portion of renewable energy use in its total energy mix, said the NEA.

Beijing has set a national target to raise clean energy use to 15 per cent by 2020 and 20 per cent by 2030. It was at 13.8 per cent in 2017.

The draft is open for public comment until Nov 21. REUTERS

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