A province in China just showed it is indeed possible to achieve 100% renewable energy. Qinghai Province recently ran solely on solar, wind, and hydropower for a full week. The province, which is home to over five million people, generated the renewable energy equivalent of 535,000 tons of coal – without all the air-polluting carbon emissions.
The State Grid Corporation of China ran the trial in the Qinghai Province to show fossil fuels aren’t a necessary component of our energy future. So between June 17 and midnight on June 23, the province got its power from only clean energy: 72.3 percent from hydropower and the rest from other sources like solar and wind.
During the week the people of Qinghai consumed 1.1 billion kilowatt hours (kWh) of electricity. The province is home to the Laxiwa hydropower station, which generates 10.2 billion kWh annually, and the Longyangxia Dam Solar Park, which as of February this year was the largest solar farm in the world.
ScienceAlert pointed out the figures have not been independently confirmed, and the information comes from a state-run news agency. But if the numbers are verified it will help show an electrical grid can remain stable without gas or coal for base load energy.
The province already obtains a large amount of power from renewables. All told Qinghai’s power grid has an installed capacity of 23.4 million kilowatts (kW) – and 82.8 percent is found in cleaner sources like hydropower, solar, and wind – though some environmentalists will take issue with the claim that hydropower is a ‘green’ energy source. Still, plans for more renewable sources are in the works – the province aims to boost wind and solar capacity to 35 million kW by 2020 and supply 110 billion kWh of clean power yearly to areas of eastern and central China.
The government will reportedly invest around $370 billion in renewable energy over the next three years, creating over 13 million jobs.