When it comes to clean energy, China is a country of contradictions. While the country is set to become the world’s largest buyer and seller of solar power this year, coal use is still increasing slightly and pollution remains a pressing issue. Fortunately, however, some new numbers are showing that for the first time ever, China’s wind power production increased more than coal production in 2012.
The stats from the China Electricity Council are showing that thermal power use, which relies heavily on coal, grew about 0.3% last year, approximately 12 terawatt hours. However, wind power grew by about 26 terawatt hours, bringing China’s total wind power production to 100 terawatts.
China’s biggest increase was actually in hydropower, which grew to 864 terawatt hours from 668.
Power consumption also slowed down, due in part to slower economic growth and possibly even energy targets put in place by the government. Regardless, coal still makes up 79% of China’s electricity production, but the plan is to reduce it to 65% by 2015. There are also targets in place for solar, wind, and hydro, so it may not be long before these begin to dominate the industry.
Overall, patterns are starting to show that there is a real chance China will begin to experience a reduction in air pollution over the next decade.
Image CC licensed by Land Rover Our Planet: A Windfarm in Ningxia Province, Northern China