By Tobias Hudson
The Chinese government has announced plans to construct 450 gigawatts (GW) of sustainable resources in the Gobi desert.
The proposed area, which skirts China’s northern border with Mongolia, will become home to more than twice the amount of solar and wind energy farms currently in the USA. The aim is to meet a renewable energy target of at least 1200 GW by 2030, as laid out by president Xi Jinping. This also ensures carbon emission peaks by the same year.
The director for China National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) He Lifeng said “China is going to build the biggest scale of solar and wind power generation capacity on the Gobi desert in history”.
A representative from China’s branch of Client Earth was reported saying that “450 GW is really huge. That would be the lion’s share of new solar and wind capacity installation until 2030.” By increasing renewable development to such an extent, China’s less developed regions will also be given a “major economic boost”.
However, to meet these targets, highly efficient coal power plants and ultra-high voltage electricity transmission lines would be needed. This would ensure that a stable energy base load would assist the renewables that fluctuate in levels depending on the weather.
Li Shou, a spokesperson for Greenpeace East Asia speaking to Climate Home News said that “it only makes sense to deploy domestically-made renewable energy equipment on a big scale as a way to contribute to climate action as well as economic growth.”
“But this is the positive side of the climate change story. China’s challenge is how to stop the coal side of the story, which is growing in equally big numbers.”
It was reported that in 2020, China released 10.7 billion tonnes of CO2, making it the greatest producer of greenhouse gases in the world. The Council on Foreign Affairs claimed that in order to reach full carbon neutrality, China would also have to reduce its dealing in the international market. While the Paris agreement saw them pledge to cut emissions, their funding worldwide will continually contribute to fossil fuel use.
The new initiative is set to get under way in the coming few years.