What are the difficulties on the supply side?

Unstable power generation is viewed as a bottleneck holding back the long-term development of renewables. Zhang Shuwei, chair and chief energy economist at the Draworld Environmental Research Centre, thinks that’s no reason for the grid to decline to take renewable power. Renewables were always about reducing emissions not balancing the power system, and the role of the grid is to handle those fluctuations and uncertainties, he said.

Another bottleneck is land availability. That’s why distributed solar, which can utilise rooftop space, is regarded as having the potential to save companies huge amounts of money – especially large power consumers such as technology parks, industrial firms and data centres. But current policies hamper development of rooftop solar installations as property rights are unclear and companies struggle to find ones to use.

Another obstacle to renewables development is that companies cannot currently choose where to buy their power from. Li Jian, energy director with GDS Services, an operator of large-scale data centres, said that businesses hope market reforms in the power sector will allow energy users of various types and sizes to participate directly in the power market, and choose where they source their power.