China’s installed wind and solar capacity is expected to overtake coal for the first time this year, according to the China Electricity Council (CEC), an industry group.
In its annual report published on Tuesday the CEC says that, by the end of 2024, wind and solar power connected to the grid would account for about 40% of the installed capacity. Coal is expected to supply just 37% this year.
The fossil fuel had a slight edge over wind and solar power in 2023, which made up for 36% combined of the capacity at the end of last year.
China is expected to produce 1,300 gigawatts (GW) of solar and wind power by the end of 2024, the report says, exceeding its official target of 1,200 GW by 2035 — five years ahead of schedule.
The nation has surpassed the rest of the world in solar power capacity, with more than half of the global total. It has also seen a rapid growth in wind power, both onshore and offshore, since 2017.
While China may have become the global leader in renewable energy, the country that burns more coal than the rest of the world combined has also ramped up coal production and financing.
Global spending on the clean energy transition hit a record high in 2023 and China remained the biggest market by far with $676 billion in spending. That’s an increase of only 6% compared to 2022 Investments in the US, the UK and Europe grew by at least 22%, according to a report Tuesday from BloombergNEF.