State Grid rolls out carbon neutrality action plan to accelerate China’s clean energy drive
- The world’s largest utility is the first state-owned enterprise to unveil its own carbon neutrality initiative
- It plans to build a diversified clean energy supply system in the next five to 10 years
State Grid Corp of China, the world’s largest utility, published on Monday its carbon neutrality action plan, which aims to maximise the buildout of wind and solar energy infrastructure across the country.
It is the first state-owned enterprise to unveil such a plan, following President Xi Jinping’s pledge in September last year that China would scale up its voluntary emissions targets under the Paris climate agreement – hitting peak emissions before 2030 and achieving carbon neutrality before 2060.
According to CWEA, earlier this year, The State Grid Corporation of China (Beijing) announced that it will invest more than $70 billion annually in the next 5 years for the emissions targets– hitting peak emissions before 2030 and achieving carbon neutrality before 2060.
State Grid will “build a diversified clean energy supply system” in the next five to 10 years, according to the action plan published on its website. The company plans to step up the development of clean energy infrastructure, including wind, solar and hydro power for generating electricity.
The plan also sharpens the company’s focus on improving the efficiency of existing infrastructure, while developing innovative energy technology.
By 2025, the proportion of primary energy consumption across China that does not use fossil fuels will reach about 20 per cent, according to State Grid’s estimates. By 2030, it expects that consumption to reach 25 per cent.
On the energy consumption side, State Grid said it will focus on the promotion of electric energy to replace coal and fossil fuels in industrial manufacturing, construction and transport. By 2025, State Grid expects the proportion of electricity in final energy consumption to reach 30 per cent. That would increase to 35 per cent by 2030, it said.
Concerns about gaseous emissions and their impact on climate change are forcing global governments to find and develop clean energy alternatives.
The stakes are high for China, the world’s second-largest economy. The country ranks as the top carbon dioxide emitter globally, surpassing the levels generated by the US and Europe combined.
In December, China pledged to reduce its carbon dioxide emissions by “at least” 65 per cent from 2005 levels by 2030, raising the target slightly from the country’s previous goal of “up to” 65 per cent.
Chinese companies are also far behind their regional peers, particularly in their lack of disclosure on meaningful company policies to tackle emissions, climate governance frameworks and targets to become carbon neutral, according to a recent review by London-based Legal and General Investment Management.
Still, some of China’s biggest technology companies were ahead of State Grid in announcing carbon neutrality initiatives. On January 12, internet giant Tencent Holdings unveiled its own action plan to achieve net-zero emissions. Huawei Technologies Co presented its “Zero Carbon Network Solution” at the telecommunications industry trade show MWC Shanghai last week, with the goal of helping network operators implement a zero-carbon strategy.
To become carbon neutral in less than four decades, China must achieve net-zero carbon dioxide emissions by offsetting an equivalent amount from the atmosphere. That will require China to invest up to 100 trillion yuan (US$15 trillion) over the next three decades and implement sweeping technological changes, according to a report last October by Boston Consulting Group.