China’s Guangdong Province Speeds Up Development of the Province’s Clean Energy Industry

The Guangdong Provincial Development and Reform Commission has recently issued a development road map for the province’s nuclear and renewable energy sources, including natural gas, wind power and solar power, entitled the Implementation Plan for Speeding up the Development of Guangdong Province’s Clean Energy Industry. 

It is important to note that, at variance with the rest of the world, China considers nuclear power as a clean energy source for the basic reason that it is not carbon-based. From 2015 to 2017, Guangdong province plans to increase its total investment in nuclear and clean energy projects by 147.4 billion yuan (approx. US $23.0 billion), all of which will be raised by the energy companies themselves, according to the plan.

Although nuclear and natural gas will garner the lion’s share, investment in wind power projects over the next three years is expected to see an increase of 23.1 billion yuan (approx. US $3.6 billion), while solar is on tap to receive 10.6 billion yuan (approx. US $1.6 billion) and the clean energy industry 3.8 billion yuan (approx. US $593 million).

On Aug. 22, CGN Wind Energy, Shenzhen Energy Corporation, China Ming Yang Wind Power Group and Dongfang Shengshi (Hong Kong) Asset Management Company agreed to jointly set up the Guangdong Renewable Energy Industry Fund. According to the terms of the agreement, the three energy firms will each contribute 1 billion yuan (approx. US $156 million) to Guangdong Dongfang Shengshi Renewable Energy Industry Fund Management Company.

As of Dec. 31, 2014, the fund had total assets of 10.3 million yuan (approx. US $161 million) and net assets of 10 million yuan (approx. US $156 million). The fund will mainly invest in solar and wind power plants, hydropower stations, waste-to-energy power stations as well as biomass energy projects.

The three companies investing in the fund plan on expanding the sources of funding, in a move to support Guangdong’s renewable energy projects, said Song Zhichen, a researcher for the energy industry at CIConsulting.

Guangdong province is rich in renewable energy, with 14 GW of exploitable onshore and 11 GW of exploitable offshore wind power capacity. The province receives on average 2,200 hours of harvestable sunlight annually, and Foshan Hi-tech Industrial Development Zone, Sanshui Park, Guangzhou Pearl Industrial Zone and Qianhai Shenzhen-Hong Kong Modern Service Industry Cooperation Zone have all been recognized as China’s demonstration zones for distributed PV power, with total installed capacity planned at 260 MW.

Guangdong is also home to abundant biomass resources, producing 10 million to 15 million tons of straw and bagasse a year. In addition, the province currently produces approximately 88,000 tons of household garbage a day, which can be used for generating power. That figure is expected to exceed 100,000 tons in the near future.

However, the development of clean energy in Guangdong remains constrained. The province has not yet provided subsidies for PV power generation. Wind power projects are restricted by the presence of active shipping lanes and port facilities, areas protected under environmental regulations and large sections used for military purposes.

Lead image: Guangzhou, Guangdong Province, China. Buildings in city of Guangzhou Credit: Rob Crandall

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