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Nation prioritizes improving energy mix

By HOU LIQIANG | CHINA DAILY | Updated: 2021-01-04 07:11
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A vast expanse of solar panels shadows the surface of a semi-desert in Northwest China's Qinghai province, turning it into a photovoltaic park. [Photo provided to]

Policy reform

Aside from enhancing the storage capacity, a smart grid that could combine different types of renewable energies and make them complement each other is also key in building the system, said Wang, who is also a member of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress and the NPC's Environmental Protection and Resources Conservation Committee.

Wang also called for reform of the country's land use policies based on the model of "renewable plus", which integrates clean energy development with agriculture, ecological restoration, poverty reduction and hydrogen production, as increasingly larger areas of land will be allocated for renewable energy development.

In addition to reforming the policies to make them investment-friendly in terms of development, regulations should also be set out on how to utilize land resources hosting solar panels, he continued.

Instead of setting a cap for total energy consumption as the country did in the 13th Five-Year Plan, Wang said it is a better choice for the government to impose a ceiling only on fossil energy consumption for the coming five years.

Scott Vaughan, international chief adviser to the China Council for International Cooperation on Environment and Development, an international think tank for the Chinese government, said increasing the renewable energy supply will not be an easy work.

"This isn't just a matter of putting in more solar and wind. It's about looking at the entire electricity system," said Vaughan.

Though countries such as China and Germany have seen their consumption of renewable power rise, they still need a fuel, which is usually coal, for the base supply. Increasing investment in battery storage can help address the problem, but "that's not going to happen overnight by any means", he said.

He said there are now still a large number of people who depend on coal for their livelihood, and this also poses challenges. But he is confident that these people will embrace new job opportunities in China's booming green economic sector.

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