Energy Profile - China
"The Dragon has awakened"
(population: 1,412 mi; GDP: US$18.1 tri; primary energy consumption: 3,801 Mtoe; electricity consumption: 8,090 TWh; installed capacity: 2,564 GW; energy self-sufficiency: 80%)
Recognized for its strong growth over the past three decades, the Chinese economy has been accompanied by a significant increase in the country’s energy consumption. To cope with this spectacular growth, China currently uses a staggering amount of energy, equivalent to 25% of the world consumption [SPR, 2023].
China energy profile
China's economy is based on fossil fuels, which represent more than 87% of its total energy consumption. Coal, a vital resource of the Chinese economy, supplied about 55% of China’s total energy consumption in 2021 (70% in 2001), mainly supporting heavy manufacturing industries, power generation, and the construction sector. The Dragon consumed over 4 billion tons of coal in 2022, more coal than the rest of the world combined [VC, 2023].
Petroleum and other liquids are the 2nd largest fuel source, accounting for 19%, mainly driven by the expansion of the Chinese car fleet [IEA, 2022]. Figure 1 shows primary energy consumption in China in 2021. But, the world's second-most populous country, is changing the energy game in favor of cleaner solutions.
Renewables in China
China’s energy sector is moving into a new direction following the president’s call for an “energy revolution” in the “fight against pollution”. Energy policy places the emphasis on electricity, natural gas and cleaner, high-efficiency and digital technologies [IEA, 2023]. China is recognized as the undisputable global leader in renewable energy expansion, adding new projects to the grid almost as fast as the rest of the world combined in 2022:
Around 50% of all renewables built every year were built in China.
China every year is building around 75 GW of wind and in excess 100 GW of solar every year, almost all the installed capacity power in Brazil.
China 14th Five-Year Plan (FYP) on Renewable Plan
China is making rapid progress in scaling up clean energy, tentatively boosting hopes that the world’s largest carbon emitter could soon start to curb GHG pollution [CNN, 2023]. China issued the 14th Five-Year Plan (2021–2025) for National Economic and Social Development of the People’s Republic of China (the Plan) in 2021, a.k.a. "the Plan", w/ a strategy for industry planning & policy thru 2025: H2 for both energy & energy storage is one of the focal points of the Plan; innovation for fossil fuels, as well as nuclear, will be targeting efficiency [IEA, 2022].
With 51% renewable energy, China’s 50% renewable target for 2025 has been just met in 2023 (Figure 2).
Belt & Road Initiative’s 2nd decade
Xi Jinping, China's president, launched the Belt & Road Initiative (BRI) in 2013, and in the decade since, Chinese companies have become global investors [EIU, 2023]. Figure 3 shows the Economist Intelligence Unit - EIU (the research & analysis division of the Economist Group) evaluation of different investment destinations to Chinese investors in the last and the beginning decade.
Figure 1: Total primary energy consumption in China (2021)
Figure 2: China 2005-2023 installed capacity & non-fossil fuel power generation 2023 H1
Figure 3: EIU evaluation of different investment destinations to Chinese investors