30 Apr Renewables heating up in China, Japan and South Africa
According to the National Energy Administration (NEA) in China, over 5 Gigawatts (5 thousand million Watts) of solar power was connected to the grid in the first three months of 2015. Approximately 80% of this comprised utility scale plants and the remainder was distribution grid connected projects. China now has 33 Gigawattts (33 thousand million Watts) of solar power supply and has a target of an additional 17.8 Gigawatts by December 2015. To put that target into perspective, it is more than double the amount installed in the United States in 2014. The Chinese Government is also restructuring the energy sector in order to encourage additional private investment and facilitate the market setting electricity costs. Bloomberg New Energy Finance has conducted an analysis of the Chinese reform plan and the potential impact on the $2 trillion dollar investment which is expected in the market in the next 15 years and concluded that such changes will increase the competitiveness of renewable technologies.
The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry in Japan approved more than 75 Gigawatts of clean energy projects by the end of January 2015, with more than 95% of this capacity comprising solar. In South Africa, the Government plans to purchase 6.3 Gigawatts of additional capacity from the private sector through its auction system. Last week, they announced 13 successful clean energy project bidders which will add 1.1 Gigawatts of capacity. The projects, comprising solar, wind, biomass and hydroelectric plants are due to be commissioned in November 2016.