Massive Clean Energy Investments Propel China's Energy Transition

  • China is rapidly advancing its decarbonization efforts, exceeding expectations and outpacing other countries in clean energy spending.
  • The country’s solar power and electric vehicle sectors are experiencing significant growth, with China set to increase its solar capacity threefold and electric vehicle sales surpassing a third of all vehicle sales.
  • China’s substantial investment in renewable energy has made its clean energy industries dominant on the global stage, reducing the need for heavy government support.

China is racing toward decarbonization at a rate that few could have predicted. The nation is crushing its competition in terms of clean energy spending, and Bloomberg recently described that a frenzied air of enthusiasm about solar power and electric vehicles in China that “suggests China is nearing an inflection point in its energy transition more than a half-decade before a 2030 target to peak emissions.” To be certain, China is still burning more fossil fuels than almost any other country on Earth, but its turbocharged clean energy sector bodes well for a cleaner future for the nation and the world. 

Just last week, BloombergNEF considerably increased its forecast for China’s 2023 solar installations, projecting that Beijing will increase its solar capacity addition nearly threefold compared to two years ago – an addition greater than the entire total in the U.S. EVs have also taken off in the Chinese market: more than a third of all vehicle sales in China last month were electric, according to Bloomberg. By comparison, EVs make up just 4% of new car sales in the U.S


According to recent figures from a BloombergNEF analysis, Beijing alone was responsible for nearly half of all renewable energy spending on the planet last year at a whopping $546 billion USD. That’s nearly quadruple the $141 billion that the U.S. spent on clean energy, and 2.5 times more than the $180 billion spent by the European Union, which were the next biggest spenders compared to China. China’s intensive spending on the sector has paid off; the country’s clean energy sectors are now robust enough that they no longer need heavy government investing to stay afloat, and these industries are now dominant on the global stage. 

Beijing’s runaway spending on renewable energy production capacity as well as manufacturing and supply chains for vital clean energy and EV components such as solar panels and lithium-ion batteries has put them in a very strong position in the global energy sector. Back in 2020, Barron’s was already reporting that “China has become the center of gravity for global energy markets,” and Beijing’s energy influence and production capacity has only continued to skyrocket since the time of that report.