While China’s renewable energy credentials are world beating, there are challenges too that the country must overcome to successfully transition away from coal. China has continued to develop wind and solar energy resources but curtailment (the wastage of potential power) remains persistent and sizeable. Plans for a long-distance ultra-high voltage transmission grid have progressed well but the economics are faltering as provinces shy away from importing additional power from elsewhere in the country. The central problem is one of ubiquitous, nation-wide over-capacity. Coal capacity alone is enough to meet peak demand. For China’s renewable energy to fulfil its potential a more systematic approach must be taken to electricity policy and planning. The Lantau Group’s China team discuss these themes in the Nikkei Asian Review.