The China National Committee aims to promote sustainable energy development in China, as a part of the World Energy Council's energy vision. As a member of the World Energy network, the organisation is committed to representing the Chinese perspective within national, regional and global energy debates. The committee includes a variety of members to ensure that the diverse energy interests of China are appropriately represented. Members of the committee are invited to attend high-level events, participate in energy-focused study groups, contribute to technical research and be a part of the global energy dialogue.
Energy in China
The US-China relationship has fundamentally shifted to one of strategic competition. In addition to the crucial issue of trade deficit, other issues including market access and intellectual property rights are sure to be negotiated and its impacts felt throughout the world.
A decade ago, the US was the largest consumer of primary energy. Today, China’s energy market is now substantially larger than the US’s. Assuming China continues to grow its economy at a midsingle digit growth rate, it will remain the single largest contributor to global energy growth. In 2018, China set another record by overtaking Japan to become the largest importer of natural gas.
In 2018, China continued to work on improving safety measures in coal mines. However, large scale accidents continue to be a critical uncertainty for the Chinese energy industry. Deadly mining accidents are common in China, where the industry has a poor safety record, despite efforts to improve coal production conditions and prevent illegal mines. Along with large scale accidents, China’s energy industry views US policy and Blockchain as critical uncertainties that will have a measurable impact on the industry.
China continues its effort to increase renewable energy generation inside the country while investing in coal outside the country. Unlike other regions and countries, China will not require a gas bridge between coal and renewables. It is anticipating that renewables will become the core of the nation’s energy system by 2050. Not only that, but electricity supply could be cheaper in the future than it is today.
Large scale accidents remain a critical uncertainty as China continues to improve working environments. In October 2018, 21 miners died in eastern Shandong province after pressure inside a mine caused rocks to fracture and break, blocking the tunnel and trapping the workers. Having witnessed the biggest utility in Japan proved powerless to prevent a series of meltdowns in Fukushima, Chinese leaders are concerned that similar accidents could happen in China. Nuclear and coal are being phased out in favour of renewables.
Because of the US’ protectionist policies, China sees US Policy as a critical uncertainty for its energy sector. China is not a market where US producers want to be excluded. It remains an important importer of oil and gas from the US. However, if trade wars continue, the situation will have a negative impact on both countries.
While China is planning to be one of the world’s leaders in clean energy, it is looking at technology as a solution. IoT/Blockchain remains both an opportunity as well as a critical uncertainty because the technology is not yet proven. The Asia Pacific (APAC) subsidiary of Chinese energy firm Narada Power Source is teaming up with Singapore start-up Electrify to deploy blockchain and Internet-ofThings (IoT) solutions for energy trading and tracking across APAC.
After decades of sharp expansion, the Chinese economy is slowing down. Growth in 2018 is set to be the weakest since 1990. China’s economic growth is an action priority for the government. The world’s second largest economy is feeling the effects of a darkening trade outlook (mainly with the US and potentially Brazil) and government attempts to rein in risky lending after a rapid rise in debt levels.
Renewable energies appear as an action priority for China as it works to continue its push for the growth of clean energy solutions. China’s National Energy Administration (NEA) is currently considering how to sustainably continue its support of renewables without feed-in tariffs. While this financing mechanism has been integral to the deployment of the country’s over 100 GW of renewables over the past 10 years, China feels that it is time for a rethink of this strategy. China looks to continue to act on renewable energies which are planned to replace coal generation by 2050.
China is not only experiencing its own Energy Transition because of the growth of the role of renewables, it is also shaping the transition of world’s countries and regions through foreign investment. China is increasingly looking toward securing its future energy needs with sustainable alternatives and to diversifying and reducing its dependence on energy imports.
China is looking to the future with an eye to be the leader in renewable energies. China is hoping to deal with this over-dependence on fossil fuels partly by rebalancing the economy away from energy-intensive industries. In recent years, through a combination of subsidies, policy targets and manufacturing incentives, China has spent more on cleaning up its energy system than the United Stated and the European Union combined. China is also upgrading its regulatory structure. The government is using technology, innovation and power-market reform to break the monopoly of the grid.