China generated more than half of the world’s total coal-fired power in 2020, nine percentage points more than five years earlier, a global data study showed.
Although China added a record 71.7 gigawatts (GW) of wind power and 48.2 GW of solar last year, it was the only G20 nation to see a significant jump in coal-fired generation, said Ember, the London-based energy and climate research group.
China’s coal-fired generation rose by 1.7 per cent or 77 terawatt-hours, bringing its share of global coal power to 53 per cent, up from 44 per cent in 2015, the report showed.
China has promised to reduce its dependence on coal and bring emissions of climate-warming greenhouse gas to a peak before 2030 as it aims to become “carbon neutral” by 2060.
Recently, due to increase in demand, China has been unable to find enough clean energy to keep up, with renewables meeting only half of China’s power consumption growth last year.
New coal-fired power installations reached 38.4 GW in 2020, more than three times the amount built by the rest of the world, according to a February research report.
China cut the share of coal in total energy consumption from around 70 per cent a decade ago to 56.8 per cent last year. But absolute generation volumes rose 19 per cent over the 2016-2020 period, Ember calculated.