China’s 14th Five-Year Plans on Renewable Energy Development and Modern Energy System

published Sep 5, 2022
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In June 2022, China released the 14th Five-Year Plan (FYP) on Renewable Energy Development (2021–2025), a comprehensive blueprint for further accelerating China’s renewable energy (RE) expansion. The plan targets a 50 percent increase in renewable energy generation (from 2.2 trillion kWh in 2020 to 3.3 trillion kWh in 2025), establishes a 2025 renewable electricity consumption share of 33 percent (up from 28.8 percent in 2020), and directs that 50 percent of China’s incremental electricity and energy consumption shall come from renewables over the period 2021–2025. Achieving the targets in the plan will reduce up to 2.6 gigatons of carbon emissions annually (equivalent to almost one-fourth of China’s total carbon emissions in 2020).
The RE plan is the second major energy-related 14th FYP released this year. In March, China announced the 14th FYP for a Modern Energy System. The first energy-specific FYP following President Xi’s carbon neutrality pledge in 2020, it emphasizes the link between China’s climate commitments, energy transition, and energy supply security; establishes detailed targets for primary energy mix, power generation rate, electrification rate, and more; and represents a shift from the previous focus in the 13th FYP on air pollution control. These two FYPs together reaffirm China’s commitment to honoring its carbon pledges through accelerated RE growth.
Combined, the new FYPs provide a holistic preview of a renewable-dominated power system in the country’s future. China’s latest renewable targets through 2025 are as follows:

China’s 2025 Renewable Energy Targets



2020 level

2025 target

1. Renewable electricity utilization


   Renewable electricity consumption share




   Non-hydro renewable electricity consumption share




   Renewable electricity generation

trillion kWh



2. Renewable non-electric utilization (geothermal heating, biomass heating and fuel, as well as solar heating)

million tonnes of standard coal



3. Total renewable consumption

billion tonnes of standard coal



4. Non-fossil power generation share




5. Electrification rate




6. During 2021 to 2025, more than 50% of the country’s incremental electricity and incremental energy consumption shall come from renewables.

Source: National Energy Administration

In addition to establishing new overall targets, the plans highlight the following key implementation actions: 1) increase solar and wind power generation in China’s renewable-abundant West and distributed generation for local consumption along the East Coast; 2) expand off-shore wind; 3) develop energy storage of big hydro systems; 4) optimize renewable layout in different regions, and establish new technologies and business models; and 5) integrate renewable centers and micro grids in rural areas for poverty alleviation and rural revitalization.
Energy Foundation China grantees have been instrumental in researching renewable-energy potential as China sets RE goals for the next five years. Our grantees’ work has covered renewable development potential, system economics with multiple constraints, and renewable-power consumption potential. The new 14th RE FYP sets a goal for 50 percent of China’s incremental energy consumption to come from renewables, after our grantees estimated that the non-fossil energy share could exceed 50 percent. Based on our grantees’ calculation, China has sufficient resources ready for large-scale renewable growth, with a developable wind and solar power capacity of more than 6,000 and 35,000 gigawatts, respectively.

The clear and detailed targets included in the two energy FYPs will facilitate the green transition of the country’s power sector toward neutrality. We are working on how to implement these FYPs with on-the-ground supporting policies for investment, finance, and local deployment by pilot scaling-up.

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