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Sunnier Skies ahead for China's Renewable Energy Projects

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PHOTO BY XINHUA / ALAMY STOCK

Suide County, located on the Loess Plateau in northwest China's Shaanxi Province, has abundant sunshine and ample amounts of unused land. In an effort to use those two conditions to lower the area's utility costs, local authorities have partnered with a provincial branch of electricity service provider State Grid on a project to build a 33-megawatt photovoltaic power station.

The remote initiative speaks to a broader explosion of solar power projects across the country. In fact, a surge of solar and wind projects in recent years prompted some electricity distributors to block that energy from flowing into—and overwhelming—their own systems. But in December, China's government announced multiyear targets that would allow more wind and solar projects onto the power grid. In 2018, an estimated 12 percent of wind power was curtailed from the grid. By 2020, the National Development and Reform Commission and the National Energy Administration have set a target cap for wind and solar power alike at 5 percent curtailment. For project sponsors looking to launch new renewable energy projects in the country, that could mean sunny skies ahead.

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