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China’s 2020 Energy Strategy

May 21, 2016

By Paul Homewood


h/t Oldbrew





Oldbrew reminds me that China unveiled their energy strategy and targets for 2020 back in November 2014. These help to give a fill some of the gaps of our understanding of their 2030 plans.

This was how Xinhuanet reported it:



 China has issued a long list of targets for its future energy strategy as the country looks to modernize its energy structure.

The State Council promised more efficient, self-sufficient, green and innovative energy production and consumption in the Energy Development Strategy Action Plan (2014-2020) published Wednesday

It included a cap set on annual primary energy consumption set at 4.8 billion tonnes of the standard coal equivalent until 2020.

This means the annual growth rate of primary energy consumption must be limited within 3.5 percent for the next six years.

Annual coal consumption will be held below 4.2 billion tonnes until 2020, 16.3 percent more than the 3.6 billion tonnes burned last year, according to the National Coal Association.

The plan placed heavy responsibility on regions around Beijing, the Yangtze River Delta and the Pearl River Delta, the three biggest city clusters, asking them to wean off too much coal burning.

The share of non-fossil fuels in the total primary energy mix will rise to 15 percent by 2020 from 9.8 percent in 2013, according to the plan.

The goal of the ratio set for 2030 is around 20 percent, China announced last week during the APEC meetings in Beijing.

The share of natural gas will be raised to above 10 percent and that of coal will be reduced to under 62 percent. Production of both shale gas and coalbed methane could reach 30 billion cubic meters by 2020.

Construction of new nuclear power plants in eastern coastal areas will begin at a proper time, with feasibility of building such plants in inland regions being studied. Installed nuclear power capacity will reach 58 gigawatts and those under construction will top 30 gigawatts by 2020.

Installed capacity of hydro-, wind and solar power is expected to stand at 350 gigawatts, 200 gigawatts and 100 gigawatts, respectively.

Energy self-sufficiency will be boosted to around 85 percent.

China is the world’s largest energy consumer and it is quite concerned with environmental pollution and energy security.

"China mainly depends on coal and it is exploited rudimentarily," said Zhou Dadi, vice director of the China Energy Research Society, adding that China is a major emitter of air pollutants and greenhouse gases.

The country is also a major importer of coal, oil, natural gas and uranium. Nearly 60 percent of oil and over 30 percent of natural gas currently rely on imports.

China used 21.5 percent of global energy and generated 12.3 percent of the world’s GDP. "Energy consumption per unit GDP is very high," said Li Yizhong, president of China Federation of Industrial Economics.

"These targets are pragmatic and obligatory," said Li.


Key points:

  • Coal consumption to rise from 3.6  to 4.2 billion tonnes.
  • Annual growth in energy consumption capped at 3.5%. This would equate to an increase of 23% over the six years.
  • The share of non fossil fuels to rise to 15% from 9.8%. Given the overall increase in energy consumption, this means that fossil fuels rise by 16% in absolute terms.

The plan also mentions installed capacity of hydro-, wind and solar power is expected to stand at 350 gigawatts, 200 gigawatts and 100 gigawatts, respectively, and 58GW of nuclear. We can work out what this means for generation, using capacity utilisation figures from the China Statistical Yearbook:


Hydro 350 43 1318
Wind 200 24 420
Solar 100 21 184
Nuclear 58 91 462



Total electricity generation in China was 5650 TWh in 2014. If we assume this rises by 23% in line with overall energy, we would be looking at a figure of 6950 TWh by 2020. In other words, wind will contribute just 6% and solar 3%.

This is a reminder that, despite the large numbers floated around for capacity, wind and solar will still be bit part players, and will contribute much less in proportion than they already do in the UK.


One final piece of information can be gleaned from Xinhuanet, and that is that China and Russia signed an agreement in November 2014 for the supply of gas:


BEIJING, Nov. 9 (Xinhua) — China and Russia signed agreements on Sunday to boost their energy cooperation, including a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to develop a second route to supply China with Russian natural gas.

Chinese President Xi Jinping and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin witnessed the signing of a series of bilateral cooperation agreements, including an MOU of the China-Russia West Route natural gas pipeline and a framework agreement between China National Petroleum Corporation, China’s largest oil and gas producer, and Russia’s energy giant Gazprom.

The two countries signed another agreement in May on the China-Russia East Route natural gas pipeline. The 30-year contract will see the pipeline start providing China with 38 billion cubic meters of natural gas annually from 2018.


To put the numbers into perspective, China currently consumes 186 cubic meters annually, so an extra 38 billion will make a sizeable difference. Given that the contract is for 30 years, I think we can safely discount the prospect of China decarbonising their economy by 2050!

  1. markl permalink
    May 21, 2016 3:06 pm

    “I think we can safely discount the prospect of China decarbonising their economy by 2050!”

    Yes but that’s not what Obama is telling the world. He continually touts that “China has signed up to CO2 reduction and is on board”. Blatant lies and misinformation to sway the people. The BRICS countries….over 40% of the world population…. will have nothing to do with ‘carbon reduction’.

  2. Dvaid Richardson permalink
    May 21, 2016 3:50 pm

    Well it looks as though those people who said that China would provide an example to the rest of the world were right – but not quite how they thought.

    • JV82 permalink
      May 21, 2016 7:15 pm

      Yes, and if the BRICs truly believed AGW to be such an apocalyptic threat to their countries, they would not act in this manner.

  3. May 21, 2016 5:44 pm

    Al Gore just said that his film, 10 years ago, was more optimistic than it should have been, that the future is worse and closer than he had imagined. This despite the non-events of catastrophe and science he presented.

    Just as with Hillary Clinton, the truth doesn’t matter. Even if people check, it doesn’t matter. It is a strange, strange world of bald-faced lying that has no accountability. Years ago being caught lying was a political disgrace. We’re beyond that now if the cause is either noble or if you are understood to be value signalling. The truth about China doesn’t seem to come into the picture …. Unless you think that this, and other lies, are why half the American population doesn’t think global warming is either all our fault or as bad as presented.

  4. May 21, 2016 8:13 pm

    Climate catastrophists are stuck in a pre-Climategate (2009) time warp and keep repeating the same dodgy mantras based on duff climate models and over-the-top speculation, ignoring anything that might resemble reality unless it happens to fit their silly ideas.

    And large numbers of media deadheads and politicians seem to think that’s great.

  5. PGBerkin permalink
    May 21, 2016 9:41 pm

    I used to say this facetiously, that if temperatures continue undeniably to plateau or even come down a bit, then, by manipulating CO2 perceptions instead, climatologists will try to claim that humans, under brilliant political guidance, were responsible for the reversal in trend…”We did it! Give us even more power!” Now I’m starting to see it as a possibility.

  6. what's'isname permalink
    May 22, 2016 6:05 am

    “Given that the contract is for 30 years, I think we can safely discount the prospect of China decarbonising their economy by 2050!”.
    Decarbonising any advanced economy let alone the world won’t be done using wind and solar unless there is a breakthrough in battery storage; the only other hope is for some rapid advance in nuclear energy production.
    2050 may seem far enough in the future to imagine some game-changing advances but it’s sobering to compare the state of technology say sixty years ago that I can remember well (~ 1955) and sixty or so years before that (~1890).
    Things are faster cheaper and more efficient than 60 years ago but apart from space and the internet, they are the same things, the advances in technology seems to be slowing down and the current obsession with dead-end technologies doesn’t help.

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