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Environ Sci Technol. 2013 Apr 2;47(7):3044-56. doi: 10.1021/es303146q. Epub 2013 Mar 8.

Development and bottlenecks of renewable electricity generation in China: a critical review.

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State Key Laboratory of Organic Geochemistry, Guangzhou Institute of Geochemistry, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Guangzhou 510640, China.


This review provides an overview on the development and status of electricity generation from renewable energy sources, namely hydropower, wind power, solar power, biomass energy, and geothermal energy, and discusses the technology, policy, and finance bottlenecks limiting growth of the renewable energy industry in China. Renewable energy, dominated by hydropower, currently accounts for more than 25% of the total electricity generation capacity. China is the world's largest generator of both hydropower and wind power, and also the largest manufacturer and exporter of photovoltaic cells. Electricity production from solar and biomass energy is at the early stages of development in China, while geothermal power generation has received little attention recently. The spatial mismatch in renewable energy supply and electricity demand requires construction of long-distance transmission networks, while the intermittence of renewable energy poses significant technical problems for feeding the generated electricity into the power grid. Besides greater investment in research and technology development, effective policies and financial measures should also be developed and improved to better support the healthy and sustained growth of renewable electricity generation. Meanwhile, attention should be paid to the potential impacts on the local environment from renewable energy development, despite the wider benefits for climate change.

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