Achieving an 80% carbon-free electricity system in China by 2035
Dramatic reductions in solar, wind, and battery storage costs create new opportunities to reduce emissions and costs in China’s electricity sector, beyond current policy goals. This study examines the cost, reliability, emissions, public health, and employment implications of increasing the share of non-fossil fuel (“carbon free”) electricity generation in China to 80% by 2035. The analysis uses state-of-the-art modeling with high resolution load, wind, and solar inputs. The study finds that achieving an 80% carbon-free electricity system in China by 2035 could reduce wholesale electricity costs, relative to a current policy baseline, while maintaining high levels of reliability, reducing deaths from air pollution, and increasing employment. In our 80% scenario, wind and solar generation capacity reach 3 TW and battery storage capacity reaches 0.4 TW by 2035, implying a rapid scale up in these resources that will require changes in policy targets, markets and regulation, and land use policies.