China’s stronger economy could force energy use above equivalent of 5 billion tons of coal by 2020

China State planners said they may struggle to achieve the targets of keeping energy usage below the equivalent of 5 billions tons of coal by 2020 and becoming 15% more energy efficient per unit of GDP compared to 2015.

While China has met its target last year and is expected to achieve its 2017 goal, “growth of total primary energy consumption may continue to rise as the economic situation in the country will get better,” the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) said in a statement.

Some regions in the country would also find it difficult to fulfill their goals, the NDRC said, because they have launched a number of high energy-consuming projects in a bid to keep economic growth stable.

China has lowered energy consumption per unit of GDP by 3.8 percent over the first three quarters of 2017, and total energy use rose 2.8 percent from a year ago.

In 2016, China consumed 4.36 billion tonnes of coal equivalent and cut energy use per unit of GDP by 5 percent.