Qinghai ranked first among the 15 Chinese provinces surveyed by Climatescope 2014. It scored 1.52 and performed best in the Clean Energy Investment Parameter II, achieving its highest scores for investment in clean energy and the cost of debt.
Located in northwest China, Qinghai is China’s fourth-largest province but has its third-smallest population. In 2013, its nominal GDP was $34.7bn, or 0.33% of the national economy, placing it below all but Tibet. Thanks to abundant natural resources, large hydro and solar provide most of its power.
In 2013, it sourced 68.9% of its electricity (60.9TWh) from large hydropower. The 3.2GW of renewable power generating capacity accounted for 11.4% of total electricity generation and 20.4% of installed capacity.
The province accrued $3.3bn in clean energy investments in 2013, a substantial portion of the $11.0bn invested since 2006.
Most of this - 98% since 2006 - was directed at solar projects. A number of older small-hydro plants also contribute to Qinghai’s total renewable energy capacity.
Unlike other areas of China where rapid build-out of wind and solar power has resulted in grid congestion, Qinghai has experienced no curtailment of power generation since mid-2013.
However, concerns about future transmission infrastructure led The National Energy Administration (NEA) to assign the province a 2014 PV quota of 550MW, roughly half the volume installed in 2013.
Qinghai is unlikely to become a major market for distributed renewable energy, given its low population, but is likely to remain a fruitful place to deploy grid-scale renewable energy.
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