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New of the China energy policy

12 February 2018

The Asian country is moving from a coal economy to leading renewable energies today

"China has been the leading economic revolution in the history of mankind in recent decades, in the sense that a population has never changed its material conditions so intensely in such a short period of time. Its economic revolution is synthesized in the average annual rate of growth, 10 percent, achieved in this period. Enrique Fanjul "Towards a new model of Chinese growth" Foreign Economy nº 56, 2011.

We attach some socio-economic indicators of this Asian giant that we understand you need to know in order to try an introduction to your energy policy. We have drawn attention from these data, the fact of the total access of the population, both urban and rural, to electricity.

Given the difficulties in obtaining recent data on Chinese energy taken as a whole, we enclose this graph of a 2017 report of the International Energy Agency.

Through the chart, the huge amounts supplied for the constitution of the Chinese electric mix in 2015 can be considered. Mtoe is an energy unit equal to one million tons of oil equivalent (tep in Spanish, toe in English). That is to say, we speak of a volume of energy close to that produced by 3,000 million tons of oil. We note that approximately two thirds of this total is still contributed by coal,

what makes this country the biggest CO2 polluter in the world, as we saw in the previous article of this blog. Maybe we can now better understand the estimates that are made for the coming years regarding these fossil consumptions, if we also have to add the population increases that will occur in a country that currently has a population of about 1.4 billion people , or the foreseeable increases in GDP in such a booming economy (currently around 6% per year). Therefore, a significant increase in coal consumption is expected, despite the different plans implemented to reduce them: "reduce the coal capacity by 800 million tons per year by 2020" (REVE 2017), closing of more than one hundred plants.


We note the fact that China is the world's largest producer of hydroelectric energy (elperiodicodelaenergia.com 30/9/2015). According to REVE data, 338 GW installed in 2017.

At the time, the construction of the colossal engineering project called

The Three Gorges, hydraulic dam, the largest in the world, which embalsaba the waters of the Yangtze River. Being a source of renewable energy meant the reduction of some 100 million tons of CO2.

Regarding the other green energies "the country's investments in the renewable energy sectors reached 87.8 billion dollars last year. At the end of July, the installed capacity of renewable energy had reached 620 gigawatts, which it represented 35 percent of the total installed capacity. Currently, the installed capacity of hydro, wind and photovoltaic energy has reached 338, 150 and 100 gigawatts, respectively, so that China tops the world list in the three types (REVE 9/27/2017) ".

Figures for 2016 of Chinese renewables issued by BP, are corroborated by the top graphs by REN21.GSR 2017, which shows the leadership of the Asian country in most types of renewable sources, both at the level of annual additions as of generation capacity.

Considering the most immediate future of renewables in China, pick up the news of REVE 27/9/2017 that echoes the immediate orientation of the investment flows: "Some 2.5 trillion yuan will be invested (about 361,000 million dollars) in renewable energy projects during the 2016-2020 period, which will create more than 13 million jobs according to initial calculations ". In 2015, China had an economic investment in electricity and renewables corresponding to 36% of the total investment at the global level, according to REN21.


With regard to photovoltaic energy in particular, the Solar Power Europe analyzes estimate for the Asian country an increase between 20 and 30 GW of solar installation during the year 2017.

CPIA (Country Policy and Institutional Assessment): Rating of a country with respect to 16 criteria grouped in 4 blocks: 1st Economic management. 2º Structural policies. 3rd Policies of social inclusion and equity. 4th Management and institutions of the public sector.

Likewise, considering a medium scenario, Solar Power makes a forecast of 120 GW of photovoltaic increase for the immediate five-year period, reaching in 2021 the spectacular figure of 197 GW of installed capacity.

Finally, we enclose an extract of the Global Energy Architecture Performance Index (EAPI) Report 2017 from the World Economic Forum, referring to the Chinese giant.

"China (95th in the EAPI 2017 ranking) is showing signs of addressing the important challenge of allowing rapid growth of its energy sector while balancing the three sides of the energy triangle.

The world's largest energy consumer occupies a place in this year's ranking. The strongest score in the country is for the diversification of import counterparts, where it obtains the first place worldwide. While China has taken significant steps to respond to increasing air pollution, sustainability remains the biggest challenge (112 on this side of the energy triangle). China lags behind other global superpowers, with high levels of energy intensity (107º) and high CO2 emissions from electricity production (102º) that impact on its comparative performance. To improve the competitiveness of the energy sector, China is taking specific measures throughout its energy system. The 13th five-year plan includes objectives and measures to address key issues, such as air pollution and climate change, and ranges from the establishment of mandatory targets to reduce emissions and improve efficiency to the launch of a national carbon market. China also committed to reduce energy intensity by 60-65% by 2030 as part of the Paris Agreement."

  • 1st Economic growth and development. 2nd Environmental sustainability. 3rd Access to energy and security.
  • Energy intensity means a measure of the energy efficiency of a nation's economy, which is calculated as units of energy per unit of GDP.
  • Reducing energy intensity means reducing the costs of converting energy into GDP.

According to this report (EAPI 2017), the biggest consumers of energy in the world make it difficult for countries with higher performance to consume.

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