Lines of trees next to a road, mark the border between the desert and one of the sections of the Yangguan state-backed forest farm, on the edge of the Gobi desert, on the outskirts of Dunhuang, Gansu province, China, April 13, 2021. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins
China plans to build 450 gigawatts (GW) of solar and wind power generation capacity on the Gobi and other desert regions, the chief of the state planner said on Saturday, as part of efforts to boost renewable power use to meet climate change goals.
President Xi Jinping has pledged to bring China's total wind and solar capacity to at least 1,200 GW and to cap its carbon emission to a peak by 2030.
"China is going to build the biggest scale of solar and wind power generation capacity on the Gobi and desert in history, at 450 GW," He Lifeng, director of the National Development and Reform Commision (NDRC), said on the sidelines of the National People's Congress.
China had installed 306 GW of solar power capacity and 328 GW wind capacity by the end of 2021. The construction of about 100 GW of solar power capacity is already under way in the desert area.
He also acknowledged that high-efficient coal-fired power plants and ultra-high voltage electricity transmission lines are required in order to support the steady operation of the grid system amid large scale of renewable power installation.
Coal-fired power utilities can generate a stable baseload power supply to renewables, which can fluctuate with weather conditions.
He's comment echoed a statement from China's Vice Premiere Han Zheng this week that China should give full play to "coal's basic guaranteeing role in energy supplies".
The NDRC said in its 2022 work plan issued on Saturday that China will "continue to leverage the peak-shaving and basic supporting role of traditional energy, especially coal and coal-fired power."