Renewable energy legislation passes in China

Chinese government officials announced the passage of legislation that requires grid owners to use electricity generated by renewable energy sources.

By Source: Wall Street Journal December 29, 2009

According to the Wall Street Journal , China announced new developments in the regulations to increase the use of renewable energy such as wind and hydropower by forcing electricity-grid operators to prioritize their use. Passed on Dec. 26th by the standing committee of the National People’s Congress, the legislation will act as an amendment to the 2006 renewable-energy law. The amendment will force state-owned electric grid companies to buy all the electricity generated from renewable sources.

Coal currently accounts for 70% of China’s total energy use. China wants to increase its use of renewable energy sources to 15% of its total by 2020. The goal is related to a separate target announced by top leader Hu Jintao last month that will reduce China’s carbon emissions relative to economic output by 40 to 45% from 2005 levels by 2020.

The problem is that the Chinese government’s efforts have encouraged renewable energy development throughout China, but between 1/4 and 1/3 of China’s wind farms remain non-operational.

Other countries that are promoting renewable energy have similar laws in place. Still, China faces difficulties implementing it. China’s electricity-grid operators need to develop a smarter network to handle how to dispatch electricity generated by wind or solar energy, which fluctuates widely depending on weather patterns, and to relate it to demand for power, which swings in different cycles.