U.S. global leadership has been insufcient over the past four years, too of...
2021-01-19 2 ENGLISH REPORTS
Electricity will play the most important role, either used directly or to produce hydrogen, ammonia, or other synthetic fuels. In aggregate, achieving a zerocarbon economy will require an increase in electricity generation from today’s 7,000 TWh to something around 15,000 TWh in 2050 (see Exhibit C). In addition, hydrogen use will need to rise from today’s 25 million tonnes per annum to more than 81 million tonnes. Making this electricity in a zero-carbon fashion could be achieved with 2,500 GW of solar capacity, 2,400 GW of wind, 230 GW of nuclear, and 550 GW of hydro power.
This is technically feasible given China’s wind, solar, and hydro resources and the number of coastal sites already identified as suitable for nuclear power plants. While places with rich solar resources cover two-thirds of its total land area, China would need to devote less than 1% of its land mass to deliver the 2,500 GW of solar energy required within the total mix, and China’s estimated wind capacity resources, at 3,400 GW onshore plus 500 GW offshore, exceed the required amount. Building the required capacity will require a dramatic increase in the annual pace of investment (twice today’s rate for solar and three to four times for wind) but the financial cost of this investment would still be less than 0.4% of China’s GDP. This is clearly economically feasible in an economy currently investing over 40% of GDP, some of which is wasted on excessive investments.
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