ISTANBUL — China is leading the world in transition to a sustainable energy system, as the second largest economy is set to play a “decisive” role in helping transform the global energy sector in the decades to come, a Chinese expert on Oct 10 told the 23rd World Energy Congress underway here.
Kang Yanbing, the director of the Energy Sustainability Center under China’s National Development and Reform Commission, referred to his country’s multitude of national conditions at a forum focusing on China’s energy outlook to 2060, part of the four-day energy congress.
As a country whose population accounts for 20 percent of the earth’s total, China is in a process of rapid urbanization, drawing 10 to 20 million migrants to towns and cities each year from the countryside.
At the same time, China has become the second largest economy in the world, contributing some 30 percent each year to the global growth over the years.
China now consumes 23 percent of the global energy, a development that makes it the No. 1 energy consumer and account for a quarter of carbon emissions on the planet.
“But China is also leading in low-carbon energy development around the globe,” noted Kang. “China is No. 1 in developing hydropower, wind and solar, with nearly 40 percent of the global investment in renewables coming from this country.”
As the largest developing country in the world, China has undergone an unbalanced development both in its rural and urban areas and in different parts of the country, but it boasts as well the potential to develop even further in the decades to come, Kang said.
According to a study by Kang and his colleagues, China’s energy transition will be characterized by diversification, decarbonization, electrification and decentralization, a process set to face many challenges.
Energy demand per capita worldwide will peak before 2030, thanks to technological innovation, government policies and lower growth expectations, noted a report released on Oct 10 by the World Energy Council, the organizer of the energy congress.
The report also noted that demand for electricity will double by 2060.
“It is clear that we are undergoing a grand transition, which will create a fundamentally new world for the energy industry,” said Ged Davis, executive chair of scenarios at the council.
Some 1,000 participants, including 260 energy ministers and CEOs along with leaders from 82 countries and regions, are present for the four-day energy congress that concludes on Oct 13.