China has broken ground on a massive 100-gigawatt renewable energy project, larger than all solar and wind installations in India combined, President Xi Jinping announced Tuesday, by video link, at the United Nations Biodiversity Conference in Kunming, China.
Xi provided scant details about the project, which is likely being built in western China, where desert land is readily available, Bloomberg reports. The forthcoming wind and solar buildout will be able tap into existing or planned transmission lines that can carry clean power produced in the west to cities in the east.
“China will continue to promote the adjustment of industrial structure and energy structure, vigorously develop renewable energy, and accelerate the planning and construction of large-scale wind and solar projects in desert areas,” Xi said. China plans to hit peak emissions by 2030, though Xi has offered little in the way of a timeline for reaching that goal.
Xi’s announcement followed remarks from Chinese Premier Li Keqiang, who said this week that, in light of the ongoing energy crisis, China will have to reconsider the pace at which it curbs emissions, saying, “Energy security should be the premise on which a modern energy system is built, and the capacity for energy self-supply should be enhanced.”
Negotiators at the biodiversity conference are working toward a deal to preserve natural habits, curb plastic waste and pesticides, and help protect wilderness over the next decade. As part of that effort, Xi said that China is accelerating its push to conserve natural areas and establish a new national park system. Xi also announced the creation of a $230 million biodiversity fund.