China Advised to Double Solar Goal to Fill Nuclear and Hydro Gap
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China Advised to Double Solar Goal to Fill Nuclear and Hydro Gap

China is being encouraged by three industry groups to double the nation’s solar-power goal for 2020 to fill a gap forecast to emerge because nuclear and hydro-power are due to fall short of targets.

China Photovoltaic Industry Association, Chinese Renewable Energy Industries Association and China Renewable Energy Society, which act as conduits between the government and industry, jointly wrote the document and advised the energy authority in the State Council.

The advice, if accepted, would boost solar installations sixfold, spurring demand for manufacturers. China had about 33 gigawatts of solar power at the end of 2014, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance data.

The nation intends to get 15 percent of all energy from renewables and nuclear power by 2020, up from 11 percent last year. For 2015, China plans to add about 18 gigawatts of solar power capacity, almost equal to all the generating capacity available in the U.S. at the end of 2014.

Increasing its solar capacity is part of China's plan to increase the amount of renewable energy it uses as it attempts to move away from coal as its primary power source. Most of China's solar installations are large-scale projects, the majority of which are based in the sunny western provinces of Gansu, Xinjiang and Qinghai.

The current technology can’t guarantee the nuclear power projects are safe and the cycle of planning and construction is long, the groups said in the document. If there’s no breakthrough in the short term, it will be hard to achieve the goal of 58 gigawatts in nuclear power installations by 2020, they said.

China’s hydropower additions have been sluggish in recent years, given constraints of natural resources, according to the document. Burgeoning wind and solar power should be used to fill loopholes created by lagged nuclear and hydro capacity, the groups said.

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