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Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

China has a workable path toward making a huge head start on its long-term climate pledges by ensuring that essentially all new power generating capacity added going forward is zero-carbon, a new analysis argues.

Driving the news: The report out today offers what authors call a technically and economically feasible roadmap for transforming China's power sector over the next 10 years.

It's from the Rocky Mountain Institute, which is a clean energy think tank, and the Energy Transitions Commission, a coalition that brings together corporate heavyweights and NGOs.

By the numbers: China has recently pledged to achieve economy-wide carbon neutrality by 2060 and have its emissions peak before 2030.

The report says the roadmap on electricity in particular between now and 2030 would involve...

  • Electricity generation growing by 54% as demand grows and China works to electrify more of the economy to help curb emissions.
  • No new coal-fired capacity is added, while combined onshore wind and solar capacity would rise from 408 gigawatts in 2019 to roughly 1,650 GW in 2030.
  • There are smaller increases in hydro, nuclear, gas and offshore wind capacity additions.
  • Total non-fossil generation is 53% of the country's total by then in the roadmap aligned with fully decarbonized power by 2050.

Why it matters: China is by far the world's largest greenhouse gas emitter. So there's lots of interest in whether the country will translate its broad pledges into sweeping on-the-ground changes to its energy systems — and how that can happen.

The bottom line: One key finding is the technical challenges of having immensely larger amounts of variable renewables on China's grids are real but solvable.

  • It lays out ideas around improvements in forecasting and data management, voltage control and more.

Go deeper

Ben Geman, author of Generate
Jan 28, 2021 - Energy & Environment

GM plans to end sales of gasoline powered cars by 2035

GM CEO Mary Barra at the GM Orion Assembly Plant plant for electric and self-driving vehicles in Michigan. Photo: Bill Pugliano/Getty Images

General Motors is setting a worldwide target to end sales of gasoline and diesel powered cars, pickups and SUVs by 2035, the automaker said Thursday.

Why it matters: GM's plan marks one of the auto industry's most aggressive steps to transform their portfolio to electric models that currently represent a tiny fraction of overall sales.

Dave Lawler, author of World
2 hours ago - World

Americans increasingly see China as an enemy

One in three Americans, and a majority of Republicans, now view China as an enemy of the United States, according to a new survey from Pew Research Center.

By the numbers: Just 9% of Americans consider China a "partner," while 55% see Beijing as a "competitor" and 34% as an "enemy."

Scoop: Leaked HHS docs spotlight Biden's child migrant dilemma

A group of undocumented immigrants walk toward a Customs and Border Patrol station after being apprehended. Photo: Sergio Flores/The Washington Post via Getty Images

Fresh internal documents from the Department of Health and Human Services show how quickly the number of child migrants crossing the border is overwhelming the administration's stretched resources.

Driving the news: In the week ending March 1, the Border Patrol referred to HHS custody an average of 321 children per day, according to documents obtained by Axios. That's up from a weekly average of 203 in late January and early February — and just 47 per day during the first week of January.