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Interesting developments in Chinese clean energy, which is of course of vital importance for the future of the planet, not to mention the health of the Chinese people.

China’s order to suspend coal-fired power plant approvals in some provinces will help alleviate grid congestion that has left clean-energy capacity idle, according to the World Resources Institute.

As part of efforts to prevent unnecessary competition between fossil fuels and renewables, the government will use an early warning mechanism to forecast and discourage local planning that may exacerbate coal power plant overcapacity, researchers Song Ranping and Hong Miao wrote in an April 27 blog post on the WRI’s website.

Solar capacity in the nation has soared more than sevenfold since 2012, while wind has almost doubled as China seeks to derive 15 percent of its energy from renewables and nuclear by 2020, according to Bloomberg data. The additional capacity has taxed the grid’s ability to transmit the influx of clean power.

Some of China’s renewable plants are idle as operators are unable to sell their output. The idle rate was 15 percent for wind turbines last year and about 31 percent for photovoltaics in the northwestern province of Gansu, according to data from the National Energy Administration.

Obviously these are just first steps on what should be a road of suspending all coal-fired power plants. That’s a hard row to hoe because, as the linked article later discusses, in China fossil fuels have priority over renewables, which is also mostly true in the United States. These two nations have to lead the way on changing that and both are struggling with it. But this is good, if limited, news.

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