Efficiency improvement is key to China’s clean revolution

China’s electricity sector has been in the throes of a clean revolution over the past few years, with an almost ten-fold growth in wind, solar and hydro generation. This has resulted in a roughly 18% reduction in the share of coal generation, from 78% in 2000 to 64% in 2021. 

China’s clean power revolution has been relatively quick when compared with other major coal-dependent Asian developing economies, where the share of coal power has been either rising (Indonesia and Viet Nam) or stagnant (Japan).  

Efficiency improvement is an integral aspect of China’s pathway towards a net-zero future. Combined with the inexorable march of renewable energies, this could enable China to further expedite the phase out of its large coal fleet, especially the least efficient sub-critical units. This will be essential for putting the world on a 1.5 degrees-aligned pathway.

Last updated: March 2022

Progress towards clean power targets