Climate Change

08 Jun 2021

Irena and China to Work Together on Carbon Neutrality Roadmap

08 Jun 2021  by   

The International Renewable Energy Agency and China's National Energy Administration signed an agreement to strengthen efforts towards reaching carbon neutrality goals in the world's second-largest economy.

Workers install solar panels at a photovoltaic power station in Hami in northwestern China. The world's second-biggest economy installed 136 gigawatts of renewables capacity last year, 49 gigawatts of which was solar. AP Photo

Abu Dhabi-based Irena, which is headquartered in Masdar City, will prepare a comprehensive energy transition roadmap that will identify key policy actions, technology solutions, and industrial development programmes to facilitate China's achievement of its medium- and long-term national renewable and decarbonisation goals.

The two parties will also jointly identify "optimal sub-national pathways to carbon neutrality", Irena said in a statement on Monday.

China, currently the world's biggest emitter of greenhouse gases, plans make sure its carbon dioxide emissions peak by 2030 and has vowed to become carbon-neutral before 2060

As part of Beijing's efforts to decarbonise, it plans to raise the share of non-fossil fuels in its primary energy mix to 25 per cent by 2030.

China also plans to raise the total capacity of wind and solar to 1,200 gigawatts by the same timeline.

“China is a fundamental actor in the achievement of a rapid energy transition that aligns global development with a climate-safe, inclusive and just future,” said Francesco La Camera, Irena's director-general.

“Irena will strongly support China’s efforts to achieve its decarbonisation goals at home while leveraging our unique global platform to bring the benefits of Chinese knowledge and experience to countries pursuing their own transitions around the world," he added.

China, which is the world's biggest oil importer, was ranked as third-most attractive destination for renewables investment by IHS Markit last month.

Global renewable energy capacity rose by 10.3 per cent to 2,799 gigawatts in 2020, according to Irena. China and the US, the world’s two biggest economies, were the best-performing countries in terms of renewable energy growth.

China, the biggest market for renewables, added 136 gigawatts of clean energy capacity in 2020.

Wind power accounted for 72 gigawatts of the country's new capacity, while solar power contributed 49 gigawatts.

National Energy Administration administrator Zhang Jianhua and Irena director general Francesco La Camera hold up signed partnership agreements. Courtesy Irena

Globally, more than 260 gigawatts of capacity were added, a 50 per cent increase compared with 2019.

Solar energy made up more than 48 per cent of last year’s renewable capacity additions, accounting for 127 gigawatts.

Irena and China's NEA also pledged to co-operate in multilateral settings such as the G20 and the Association of South-East Asian Nations, particularly in areas of developing technology to integrate renewables, such as smart grids, energy storage and technology standards.

The two sides will also work on the production of alternative fuels such as hydrogen, biofuels and e-fuels.

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