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China sets cap on energy use

Updated: Nov 19,2014 3:44 PM     Xinhua

BEIJING — 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 on Nov 19.

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.

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