China is likely to install nearly three times more wind turbines and solar panels by 2030 than its current target, helping shift the world's largest fuel importer toward energy self-sufficiency, according to Goldman Sachs Group Inc.
Falling costs will make around-the-clock clean power more profitable, resulting in the rapid deployment of renewables and batteries, according to a report by analysts including Nikhil Bhandari and Amber Cai released on Monday. Solar and wind capacity will reach 3,300 GW by 2030, far exceeding the government's target of 1,200 GW.
According to the analysts, such a large fleet of intermittent generation will require approximately 520 GW of energy storage, with approximately 410 GW coming from batteries and the rest from pumped hydro facilities. This means that battery storage capacity would be 70 times greater than it was at the end of 2021.
China's rapid energy transition will necessitate a $8 trillion investment in power generation, storage, and grid upgrades through 2040. Yet, decoupling power from fossil fuels will result in lower, less volatile generation costs beginning in 2030, the analysts added.
It will also allow China, the world's largest importer of oil, gas, and coal, to reduce its reliance on foreign fuels. Analysts predict that China's energy imports will fall to 92 million tons of coal equivalent by 2060, down from 1.14 billion tons in 2021.
Goldman's forecasts are similar to other researchers. In a scenario designed to put China on the path to net zero emissions by 2050 — ten years ahead of Beijing's current target, BloombergNEF estimated that China would have 3,345 GW of wind and solar power and 392 GW of energy storage by 2030.