How China’s clean power investments are growing

Chief Europe Correspondent
Source: DNV • "Other renewables" includes hydropower, geothermal and biomass-fired generation. "Fossil fuels" is largely coal. Investments include both state and private investments.

China’s investments in renewable and low-carbon electricity sources are set to overshadow its investments in coal power over the next few decades.

That’s according to a China-focused energy transition outlook recently released by Oslo-based consultancy DNV, which found China will invest more than $150 billion in renewables each year by 2030 and will invest around $250 billion a year by 2050.

By the end of this decade, China will account for 35% of global investments in solar photovoltaics, 27% of investments in wind power and 40% of investments in nuclear, totaling about $1.3 trillion in just these three sectors.

China will still be responsible for a third of global coal investments over the next decade, the forecast also found. China is currently the largest consumer and producer of coal and the world’s top carbon polluter. Its approval for new coal-fired power plants rose in 2023.

But coal use in the country’s power sector will likely peak before 2030 and then decline steadily, found a recent report from Australia-based think tank Climate Energy Finance.

And, as the chart above shows, the country’s decarbonization efforts are picking up pace. (To be clear, this doesn’t represent China’s current electricity mix, which is still nearly two-thirds coal).

Already a leader in renewable energy investments, China will more than quintuple renewable energy installations by 2050, DNV found. By midcentury, the consultancy determined China “will comfortably be the world’s largest wind market.”