URUMQI, Feb. 16 (Xinhua) -- New energy power generation surged last year in northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region as local authorities sought to reduce reliance on coal to improve the energy mix.
Wind and solar power generation rose 42 percent and 54 percent to 31.3 billion kwh and 10.3 billion kwh, respectively, according to the State Grid Xinjiang Electric Power Co., Ltd.
The combined electricity from the renewable energy accounted for 16 percent of all power generated in Xinjiang, it said.
Xinjiang has a total installed power generating capacity of 82.2 million kw, with new energy contributing 27.4 million kw. The wind and solar power generating capacities in Xinjiang both rank second among all provincial-level regions.
But due to higher costs, poor grid connections and the grid's preference for more predictable coal-generated power, 29.8 percent of the installed wind power generating capacity and 21.5 percent of the solar power generating capacity in Xinjiang were left idle last year.
The two rates, however, were 8.6 percentage points and 11.5 percentage points lower than a year ago as local authorities encouraged more local consumption and meanwhile transmitted more to regions in the country's bustling east.
To reduce greenhouse gas emissions and tackle air pollution, the world's second-largest economy has been trying to use more renewable energy in a bid to cut its heavy reliance on more polluting coal.