Rapid cost decrease of renewable energy and storage offers an opportunity to accelerate the decarbonization of China’s power system
China’s power sector is key to achieving decarbonization targets for China and the rest of the world. The costs for solar photovoltaics, wind, and battery storage have dropped markedly, approximately 65% to 85% since 2010. Those costs are projected to decline further in the near future, bringing new prospects for the widespread penetration of renewables and extensive power-sector decarbonization that previous policy discussions did not foresee. The results of our study show that if cost trends for renewables continue, 62% of China's electricity will come from non-fossil sources by 2030 at a cost that is 11% lower than achieved through a business-as-usual approach. Further, China's power sector can cut half of its 2015 carbon emissions at a cost about 6% lower compared to business-as-usual conditions. An 80% reduction in 2015 carbon emissions is technically feasible as early as 2030, but requires about a 21% higher cost than the business-as-usual approach, for a $21/tCO2 cost of conserved carbon.