The world has rich clean energy resources, and exploring 0.05% of those resources shall be able to meet global energy demand. There is considerable potential in wind power generation at the Arctic, solar power generation at the equator, centralized and distributed clean power in all continents and all countries. Since the advent of the new century, a new round of energy revolution featuring clean and low-carbon energy is booming. New energy resources like wind and solar power has witnessed development by leaps and bounds, and clean development has become a trend.
Distribution of clean energy resources
Clean energy resources are abundant. Global hydropower, onshore wind energy and solar power amount to 10,000, 1,000,000 and 100,000,000 GW respectively. Exploring 0.05% of those can meet global energy demand. Exploring a mere one thousandth of its hydro energy, onshore wind energy and solar energy resources shall enable China to meet its energy demand.
Clean energy resources are unevenly distributed worldwide. Wind energy is mainly distributed in the Arctic, Central and Northern Asia, Northern Europe, Central North America, East Africa and offshore areas of the five continents. Solar energy is mainly distributed in the equatorial region of North Africa, East Africa, Middle East, Oceania, Middle and South America. Wind and solar power generation is irregular and intermittent, so only by integrating them into extensive power grids can large-scale development and utilization be possible.
By the end of 2014, the installed capacity of global clean energy stood at about 2,210 GW, with an annual growth rate of 13.9%, accounting for 36.3% of total installed capacity worldwide. Annual generation of clean energy amounted to about 7,810 TWh, accounting for 32.9% of all power generation.
- From 2000 to 2014, installed capacity of global hydropower increased from 775 GW to 1,172 GW, reflecting an annual growth of 3% on average.
- By the end of 2014, the installed capacity of global hydropower reached 1,172 GW, accounting for 19.2% of total installed capacity worldwide. Its annual generating reached 3,970 TWh, accounting for 16.7% of the world's total power generation.
- By the end of 2014, the top five countries on installed hydropower capacity were China, the United States, Brazil, Canada and Russia, and their respective capacity were 302, 102, 92, 77 and 52 GW. (In 2015, the installed capacity of hydropower in China reached 319 GW.)
Wind Power Generation
- By the end of 2014, the global installed capacity of wind power reached 373 GW, with an annual growth rate of 15.8%, accounting for 6.1% of total installed capacity worldwide; wind power annual generation reached 702.9 TWh, accounting for 2.96% of the world's total power generation.
- In 2014, installed capacity of wind power increased by 52.02 GW, up by 43.3%. That of China reached 115 GW, ranking first in the world, successively followed by the US, Germany and Spain.
- There are 103 countries and regions engaged in development and utilization of wind power. Wind power has taken up the largest share of power supply in Denmark and Spain, accounting for 34% and 21% of all power used respectively, while the figure for Portugal, Ireland and Germany stood at 20%, 16% and 9% respectively.
Solar Power Generation
- By the end of 2014, the global installed capacity of solar power reached 184.93 GW (including 180.4 GW for photovoltaic power, and 4.53 GW for solar thermal power), with a growth rate of 31%. Solar power generation reached 185.9 TWh(including 183.2 TWh for photovoltaic power, and 2.7 TWh for solar thermal power), accounting for about 0.78% of world's total generation.
- In 2014, the newly installed capacity of photovoltaic power worldwide reached a record high of 42.09GW, with a growth rate of 8.8%.
- By the end of 2014, Germany ranked first in installed capacity for photovoltaic power generation, accounting for 21% of world's total installed capacity for photovoltaic power; China ranked second, accounting for about 18%; Japan, the United States and Italy followed closely behind. (In 2015, China topped the world in installed capacity of PV power.)
Features of Development in Global Clean Energy
The installed capacity and power generation of clean energy maintains the trend of rapid growth
From 2000 to 2014, the installed capacity of photovoltaic power generation increased from 1.3 GW to 180 GW, reflecting an annual increase of 42.4% on average. The installed capacity of wind power generation increased from 18 GW to 370 GW, with an annual increase of 24.2% on average.
The investment on clean energy has experienced a rapid growth In 2015, total investment in clean energy reached $ 328.9 billion worldwide, standing at a record high and over five times that of 2004.
Efficiency of clean energy generation is continuously improved and costs continuously reduced
From 1980 to 2014, global wind power generation cost dropped from $ 0.63/kWh to $ 0.06/ kWh, decreasing by over 90%. The cost of crystalline silicon photovoltaic power generation fell from $ 0.315/kWh in 2010 to $ 0.142/kWh in 2014. At the same time, over the last 10 years, the conversion efficiency of crystalline silicon cells had grown at an annual rate of 0.5% on average.
In California and some regions in Germany and Italy, with favorable natural conditions in solar energy, the cost of solar power generation was already lower than end-use electricity prices, and getting closer to that of electricity from conventional power supplies built according to the most stringent environmental standards.
A Source: Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF).
B Source: United States Department of Energy "Revolution in the present: The Future of 5 Clean Energy Technolo-gies(Updated 2015)"
C Source: Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF), where Q stands for the quarter and H for half-year.
Development in China
By the end of 2015, the installed capacity of clean energy in China reached about 516 GW, accounting for 34.3% of its total installed capacity. Clean energy annual generation stood at about 1,500 TWh, accounting for 26.9% of the total.
Hydro Power Generation
- China is the country with the most abundant hydro power in the world. The number of rivers with a theoretical reserve of and above 10,000 kW exceeds 3,800. Theoretically, the annual generation can reach about 6,080 TWh and the technically exploitable capacity is 570 GW. Hydro power resources in China are mainly focused in the Yangtze River, the Yarlung Zangbo River and the Yellow River, which accounted for 47%, 13% and 7% of the technically exploitable hydro power capacity.
- By the end of 2015, the installed capacity of hydropower in China reached 319 GW, ranking first in the world. And its annual generation stood at 1,100 TWh.
- The number of hydro stations with installed capacity over 1 GW exceeded 54. Among them, the hydro stations at the Three Gorges, Xiluodu and Xiangjiaba are the top three in installed capacity, and their respective capacity were 22500, 13860 and 6400 MW.
Wind Power Generation
- By the end of 2015, the installed capacity of wind power in China totaled 128 GW, ranking first in the world. Wind power annual generation reached 185.1 TWh. From 2004 to 2015, installed capacity of wind power grew at an annual rate of 59.7% on average.
- The number of equipment utilization hours ran at a high level. From 2011 to 2015, utilization hours of wind power equipment in China averaged between 1,728 and 2,025 hours, with an annual average of 1,891 hours.
- China has achieved significant results in construction of large-scale wind power bases. Nine large-scale wind power bases have been planned and seven bases with a capacity of over 6 GW have been constructed, while those in Gansu and western Mongolia exceeds 10 GW .
4.The integrated capacities of wind power in 16 provinces have all exceeded 1 GW, and the number of large wind farms over 100 MW has reached almost 200.
5. "Action Plan for Energy Development Strategy (2014 - 2020)" put forward that the planned installed capacity of wind power will reach 200 GW in 2020, with two-thirds in the "Three North's" (northeast China, northwest China and north China), and one third in east, central and south China.
Solar Power Generation
- By the end of 2015, the aggregate installed capacity of photovoltaic power reached 43.18 GW in China, which tops the world. Its annual generation reached 39.2TWh. From 2004 to 2015, the installed capacity of photovoltaic power increased at an average annual growth of 80.8%.
- In 2015, newly installed capacity of photovoltaic power reached 15.13 GW, accounting for more than a quarter of the world's total.
- In 2015, the annual utilization hours of photovoltaic power generation equipment reached 1,164 hours on average. From 2011 to 2015, annual utilization hours of photovoltaic power generation equipment averaged 1,282 hours. Those for Qinghai, Ningxia and Inner Mongolia exceeded 1,500 hours.
- Photovoltaic power generation has shown a pattern of concerted development in east, central and west China. The installed capacity of 12 provinces reached over 1 GW , including 6 in east and central China, and 6 in the western region..
- "Action Plan for Energy Development Strategy (2014 - 2020)" points out that the planned installed capacity of photovoltaic power generation will reach 100 GW in 2020.
Solar Thermal Power Generation
- By the end of 2015, 6 experimental solar thermal power plants had been built, with a total installed capacity of 13,800 kW.
- The tower solar thermal power plant built and put into operation in Delingha, Qinghai adopted towers for power generation, with a designed annual generating capacity of 120 GW. With an installed capacity of 10MW, the first phase of this project was successfully integrated to the grid for power generation.
- "The 12th Five-year Plan for Renewable Energy Resources" puts forward that by 2020, the installed capacity of solar thermal power generation will reach 3 GW.