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China leads the way on renewables

The boom in renewable energy being led by China, India, Europe, the United States and Japan is key to the mitigation of carbon emissions (see Nature 507, 300–302; 2014). Last year marked an important turning point for China's renewable-energy revolution in particular, with water, wind and solar sources accounting for more electricity-generating capacity (59%) than new fossil-fuel or nuclear facilities (41%; see

China generated 5,322 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity, of which 74% came from coal-fired power stations (a marked improvement on the 80% mentioned by some researchers; see D. Helm Nature 491, 663–665; 2012). The balance was contributed primarily by hydropower (17%), wind (2.6%), nuclear (2.1%) and solar sources (0.16%). Water, wind and solar energy therefore account for one-fifth of electricity generated in China — anticipating by two years the target that the country set for 2015.

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Correspondence to John A. Mathews.

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Mathews, J., Tan, H. China leads the way on renewables. Nature 508, 319 (2014).

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