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China breaks ground on massive desert solar and wind power base


Beijing aims to produce 450 gigawatts of renewable energy to slash carbon emissions

A massive renewable energy project worth more than $11 billion kicked off construction in China’s seventh-largest desert in the province of Inner Mongolia on Wednesday. The project is part of the country’s ambitious clean energy agenda.

The solar and wind power base with an overall installed capacity of 16 million kW will be the world’s largest renewable electricity generation facility of its kind in a desert area, according to the construction company. It will combine solar, wind, and upgraded coal power to produce 40 billion kWh of electricity for Beijing and the provinces of Tianjin and Hebei annually.

The project in the Kubuqi Desert will be developed by the China Three Gorges Corporation and Inner Mongolia Energy Group. According to Chinese media reports, the desert is already home to the country’s largest solar power station comprising 196,000 panels which has generated 2.3 billion kWh, which is equivalent to 760,000 tons of standard coal.

The company hasn’t specified the timeframe for the construction, saying the first phase will include one gigawatt of solar capacity equipped with energy storage.

China has substantial wind and solar power generation capacity and the clean energy base is part of the country’s ambitious investment program to produce a total of 450 gigawatts of renewable power in its spacious desert areas.

Beijing plans to produce 33% of its electricity from renewable sources by 2025 in order to reduce carbon emissions, and is already approaching this target as clean energy production reached 29.4% last year.

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