The fact that China is the world’s biggest consumer and producer of energy is reasonably well known. Less familiar is the idea that the nation is also the biggest investor in renewable energy. China’s $84 billion investment last year is significant not only for its size but also its growth. While total global renewables investment was up 15% last year, China saw a jump of 33%.

Where is this money going? China’s largest investment has been in solar — $40 billion last year, which was up 45% and accounted for 27% of the global total spent on solar in 2014. China spent another $2.4 billion on offshore wind projects, a category that is dominated by European nations who invested a combined total of $16.2 billion.

Renewable energy

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang declared “war on pollution” during the 2014 National People’s Congress, and an increase in renewable energy is a key component of China’s energy and climate policies. One challenge will be the nation’s reliance on coal, which in 2012 provided 66% of energy.

You can watch live coverage of the World Economic Forum’s Annual Meeting of the New Champions session on China’s Green Growth Agenda by using the video player below or following this link on Wednesday, 9 September from 10:30-11:30 CST (GMT+7, EST+12). 

Author: Murray Nicol is Digital Project Lead at the World Economic Forum

Image: A worker climbs over a solar panel at a solar factory in Longyou county, Zhejiang province, June 24, 2014. REUTERS/William Hong