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China's power capacity will double by 2030

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China is already the world's largest power generator and carbon emitter and, according to a new report, that's only going to increase, in a big way.

The report, from Bloomberg New Energy Finance, says that China will add 88 gigawatts of new power plants each year between now and 2030. To put that into context, that would be like adding the equivalent of the United Kingdom's entire generating capacity every year for nearly two decades. In total, China will add more than 1,500 GW -- doubling its power capacity -- with $3.9 trillion in new energy investments.

In the report, researchers ran four scenarios for China's future energy use. In the most likely scenario, the report projects that more than half of new all new capacity will come from renewable energy, including a large portion coming from hydro generation. That combined with an increase in natural gas usage would lessen China's reliance on coal, decreasing its share from 67 percent of total power generation in 2012 to 44 percent in 2030. It especially makes sense that China will aim to decrease its coal use as it is one of the main causes of high smog levels and reduced life spans.

And that all sounds good, but even in this scenario emissions from China's power sector wouldn't start to decrease until 2027, at the earliest.

"It is hard to underestimate the significance of China’s energy consumption growth and its evolving generation mix," said Michael Liebreich, chief executive of Bloomberg New Energy Finance, in a statement. "The impacts will reach far beyond China and have major implications for the rest of the world, ranging from coal and gas prices to the cost and market size for renewable energy technologies – not to mention the health of the planet’s environment.”

Read more: BNEF

Photo: Flickr/kilroy238

— By on August 29, 2013, 6:55 AM PST

Tyler Falk

Contributing Editor

Tyler Falk is a freelance journalist based in Washington, D.C. Previously, he was with Smart Growth America and Grist. He holds a degree from Goshen College. Follow him on Twitter. Disclosure