China is set to have 3,300GW of solar and wind in place by 2030, smashing by almost three times its own renewable energy goal for the end of the decade, said Goldman Sachs.
The Goldman Sachs Research arm of the global investment giant reckons the Asian economic superpower is set to blow away its existing goal to have 1,200GW of turbines and modules installed, with an expansion so rapid it could help China achieve energy self-sufficiency by 2060.
Together with advances in green hydrogen and a seventy-fold expansion in storage – China will need some 520GW – Goldman Sachs forecasts that the green power expansion could see the nation cut energy imports by 10% by 2030.
The analysts reckon a 50% cut is on the cards in the early 2040s if renewables continue expanding as predicted.
The astonishing shift will, however, come at a price of some $2.26 trillion by 2040.
“As China focuses on the challenges to reduce imported fossil fuels, we view an affordable renewable energy system, equipped with sufficient energy storage and smart grid transmission, as China’s long-term solution to achieving energy self-sufficiency,” said the Goldman Sachs Research analysts.
The report added: “As renewable energy production accelerates, its increased scale helps drive down manufacturing costs. The authors believe lower solar and wind costs, combined with technological innovation and manufacturing surpluses, will make round-the-clock solar projects more economically viable.
“Currently, the internal rate of return for a solar generation project with storage operating 24 hours a day is below zero, but innovations will improve efficiency and push returns to almost 10% by 2030.”
Part of the reason for China's progress is its supply chain dominance. The nation is said to control 90% of the market for upstream solar products, with a 30% share in wind.
The way ahead is not entirely without pitfalls for China, however. The Goldman Sachs report notes the nation's need for copper ore, crucial for power storage and transmission.
“China’s domestic production accounts for less than 30% of its demand, and its reliance in imports leaves its green electrification efforts vulnerable to geopolitical disruptions.”