China’s 2020 energy plans

China published the Energy Development Strategy Action Plan, 2014-2020 on 19 November. The plan aims to cut China’s reliance on coal and promote the use of clean energy. Here is a google translation of the document

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

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. By 2013 China was generating a total of 5,361 billion kWh (or TWh), including 4,196 TWh from thermal power stations and 1056 TWh – or just under 20% – from renewable WWS source. Large hydro accounted for 912 TWh of renewable electrical energy generated in 2013, compared with 132 TWh for wind and 12 TWh for solar PV – but the latter two sources are increasing rapidly. Of the additional electrical energy generated from WWS sources in 2013, more than half came from wind and solar PV. [39.5 TWh for hydro; 35.9 TWh for wind; and 5.7 TWh for solar PV.

Capacity factors
* about 38-45% for conventional hydro
* about 30% for wind.
* 70-95% for nuclear
* 60-65% for coal
* 12-20% for solar

Total installed capacity in 2013 was 1247 GW (5361 TWh)
Coal 801 GW (4100 TWh)
Other thermal, natural gas, bio-mass 61 GW
Hydropower capacity 280 GW (912 TWh)
Wind power capacity was 91.4 GW (132 TWh)
Solar power capacity was 18 GW (12 TWh)
Nuclear power capacity was 15.69 GW (111 TWh)

2020 TWh estimates
Coal 5500-6000 TWh (likely will try to boost coal plant efficiency with higher temperatures)
Natural gas 600 TWh
Hydro 350 GW (1140 TWh)
Wind 200 GW (290 TWh)
Solar 100 GW (60-70 TWh)
Nuclear 58 GW (410 TWh)

They also emphasized deepwater drilling as a source of oil and gas for China. That could have obvious implications for the South China Sea, which is believed to have large undersea deposits of natural gas and oil – approximately 11 billion barrels’ worth of oil and 5.4 trillion cubic meters of natural gas.

The plan calls for the “timely launch” of new nuclear power projects on China’s eastern coast and for feasibility studies for the construction of inland plants. It says that efforts should be focused on promoting the use of large pressurized water reactors (including the AP1000 and CAP1400 designs), high temperature gas-cooled reactors (HTRs) and fast reactors.

The plan also says that research should be conducted into fuel reprocessing technology. In addition, it calls for the active promotion of basic research into nuclear power and the research and development of nuclear safety technology. It also says that research should be conducted to “improve the nuclear fuel cycle system.”

Fast reactors – make maximum use of uranium resources by generating a certain amount more fuel than they consume – are seen as the main technology for China’s long-term use of nuclear energy. Under previously announced plans, deployment of PWRs is expected to level off at 200 GWe by around 2040, with the use of fast reactors progressively increasing from 2020 to at least 200 GWe by 2050 and 1400 GWe by 2100.