Electric Power Development Associated with the Belt and Road Initiative and its Implications for Carbon Mitigation Policies and Technologies
6 Pages Posted: 24 Mar 2021
Date Written: February 1, 2021
The Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), proposed by China in Fall 2013, includes large-scale development of energy infrastructures in Eurasia and Africa, and therefore has the potential to affect global climate. In this work, we analyze BRI-associated development of the electric power sector in 15 representative countries from the Belt and Road regions and find that in the period between October 2013 and June 2019, 75% of newly added power generating capacity has gone to fossil fuel-burning power plants while the remaining 25% has gone to renewable energy, mostly hydropower. Although the installed solar photovoltaics capacity and the number of solar photovoltaics projects have experienced significant increases since 2017, the total solar photovoltaics capacity is still small compared to fossil-fuel power generating capacity. Based on current trends, the total BRI-associated power development by the end of 2030 could generate 56 (range 40-72) billion metric tons of carbon dioxide over the lifetime of the power plants. This corresponds to 7-17% of the remaining carbon budget for the 1.5 C climate goal.
Keywords: Belt and Road Initiative, Power plants, Committed carbon dioxide emissions
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