China’s Next Five Year Energy Plan Will Shape the Global Energy Future

China is projected to reduce the proportion of coal in its energy mix to below 58% by 2020. There are proposals to set a target of coal usage at 55% of China’s energy mix by 2030 for the 14th five year plan covering 2021-2025.

China expects greenhouse gas emissions to peak around 2025-2030.

China is the only country to implement coal conversion at scale. China turns coal into coke, fertilizer, and other chemicals.

China will be releasing a new energy plan. The 14th Five-Year Plan will cover 2021-25. The full plan will be released around March 2021, but partial drafts and releases will be public in 2020.

The Five Year Plan (FYP) is China’s top-level policy blueprint and has been called one of the most important documents on the planet for global sustainability.

China’s coal power capacity has been capped at 1,100 gigawatts (GW) by 2020. But utilization rates of installed capacity are less than 50%. China’s electricity demand is increasing. Coal usage can increase a lot just by increasing utilization. In March the China Electricity Council suggested that coal-power capacity should grow to 1,300 GW by 2030.

Hydropower and nuclear have been revived over the last year. Wind and solar expansion has slowed since the government started to cut subsidies last year and they are giving priority to solar and wind projects that do not need financial support.

China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC), released its 2050 outlook in late August, 2019.

China expects oil demand to increase by 2-3 million barrels per day by 2030. This would be about 16-17 million barrels per day. Oil and gas are still expected to account for a third, at most, of China’s primary energy mix.

The CNPC 2050 outlook sees electrical power demand in 2050 at 12.2 trillion kilowatt-hours (kWh), lower than the 12.3 trillion kWh forecast last year. This would be about triple the amount of electricity used in the USA. Electrical demand has been flat for a number of years in the USA as increased efficiency has offset increased economic activity.

In 2019, Chinas electricity generating capacity was 7,142.2 billion kwh (7.14 trillion kWh) which was an increase of 3.5 percent over the previous year. China is increasing electricity usage by 220-300 billion kWh each year. This is on pace for 9500-10,000 billion kWh (9.5-10 trillion kWh).

China already was using more electricity than Europe and the USA combined. China should surpass twice the US level of electricity usage around 2024-2026.

33 thoughts on “China’s Next Five Year Energy Plan Will Shape the Global Energy Future”

  1. So, um, why is the coal plant utilization so low though? Capacity overbuild for their respective markets, or government shutdown orders to reduce smog interfering with regular ops?

  2. Out of curiosity, what is the flavor difference with coal-fired-wok food, particularly with the coals available in china? Some sort of secondary aromatics due to reacted unburnt gases over the wok proper settling into the food?

  3. I was confused because the entire article is about China, so Bowb should be talking about a country to the north of China. But then you’re probably correct because he does mention America.

    Bowb, you know that China is not part of the USA right? You can’t blame America for China burning coal.

  4. No, he means little Canada. And he’s right. That’s how Trump sees us Canadians. We are to him as Austria was to Hitler. Not looking forward to his second term and his question: Why is little Canada a country and not a state?

    But, yeah, considering Bowb’s writing style, he’s probably a Russian.

  5. You’d have to do the actual measurements on each case, but I wouldn’t be at all surprised if a truckload of coal burnt directly in totally uncontrolled fires right in a busy urban area doesn’t dump more pollution directly into people’s lungs than a trainload of coal burnt in a controlled power station out of town.

    If what you care about is the effect of CO2 on a global scale over the next century then yes it’s the trainloads of coal to worry about. If you care about the individuals getting sick today then it’s the truckloads of coal that need addressing.

  6. The problem with burning coal in a city of tens of millions is the inability to be healthy breathing the poisoned air.

  7. China will use coal and be the number producer of CO2 for decades to come. China doesn’t really care about CO2. The key drivers are 1) political stability, and 2) political stability (there are 3 other priorities, but you can guess what they are). They will keep producing steel even though there are no customers. They will keep producing electricity to places that don’t need it. They don’t care about Greta, about WEF, about anything other than……political stability.

    All this said, there is a master plan. See the attached link. There is an official “path” (these are the charts the politburo guys pull out whenever foreigners complain) to fossil fuel reduction but it is laughably unrealistic. See the chart on CURRENT energy mix and usage. “Industry” gets about 1,843 MTCE of power today. The “path” to decarbonization calls for “Industry” getting about 1,177 MTCE of power by 2050. Do the math. China expects their industry to consume 35% LESS POWER by 2050 and renewables to dominate electricity supply (which in total will also be less than today’s consumption). Okeydokey. By 2050 Xi will be 96 and probably forgotten. 2050 is very, very far away. As I recall, the climate apocalypse will hit us in less than 8 years.

  8. Here is how it can be done easily:
    Wind and solar power are already cheaper to install than almost any other form of energy generation matching or lower the main contender – gas turbines.
    As we approach 2030 it will be cheaper to install new wind and solar power than continue operating more than a third of carbo based power generation, it already is now.
    There will be more need of balancing the grid but still almost proportionally. It can be easily overcomed by not decomissioning most of the turned down carbo generation but letting it run insignificantly little when nothing else is available while continue promoting metal flow battery long term storage , matching demand to supply particularly for electric vehicles, HVDC transmission, biomass, hydro and geothermal clean baseload generation.

  9. Germany has already put in enough wind and solar to cover about one and a half times its peak load. Emissions from power generation have only gone down by about 15% since the turn of the century, and however cheap reenwables have become to install, the extra value from increases above peak demand will asymptotically diminish.

  10. When the choice is starve today or starve tomorrow it isn’t really a choice now is it. When someone tells you of an invisible gas that is going to change the weather at some time in the future with no more specifics then that; Well you might start asking questions. Questions like if I can’t have fire how come you can?

  11. China doesn’t have much of a blue water navy… by US standards.

    Compared to say Yemeni pirates or whatever the PLAN would be devastating.

    The only Navies with the size, position and possible motivation to cut off Chinese oil would be India, Japan or the USA. Those cases would be basically declarations of a major, if not world, war.

  12. Much as I laud the objective, that’s just not feasible for a country with as big a demand for energy as China. Better would be to replace coal with gas while continuing to expand the wind and solar share. It’s much quicker and cheaper to swap coal for gas, and cuts CO2 emissions in half while also improving air quality.

    Alternatively, China could make a massive investment in CO2 capture from existing coal plants and develop an infrastructure to collect the CO2 and inject into the ground. CCS on a scale not yet seen. Do that, and they can eliminate CO2 emissions from their existing plants.

  13. Don’t trash talk coal-fired-wok-noodles until you’ve tried it.

    OTOH trash talk “Bat soup” all day long.

  14. Mr. Wang chose a particularly apropos picture to include at the top. A bunch of coolies filling up a pickup truck from a ginormous pile of most-likely unregulated coal clinker.  

    The picture underlines the mendacity of China’s official consumption numbers. No forms filled out and none of the pickup truck’s load reported at all. Just a pile of coal for a bit of under-the-dashboard cash.  

    And there are MILLIONS of pickup trucks delivering millions of tons of unofficial coal, every single day, all over China. It is a huge industry … how else are there no fewer than (11) ELEVEN people shoveling in that image? Because they have to shovel, all day long, to make a living. So, millions of men every day making a living “vending” unauthorized, un-trackable coal.

    Where pray does it end up?

    Oh… unmuffled light-industrial heating applications; houses and apartments, for heating. Cooking fuel for the poor. Laundries, which consume quite a bit of coal. Fabric printing plants. Yes, even a whole bunch of restaurants. Coal — especially coked coal — has long been a traditional fuel source for heating the dozens of woks in mainland China’s restaurants.  

    None of which have even a scrap of flue-gas pollution mitigation systems.  

    So, it all blows north. 
    Where no one really complains. 
    Compared to the 1,200 million Chinese.

    ⋅-⋅-⋅ Just saying, ⋅-⋅-⋅
    ⋅-=≡ GoatGuy ✓ ≡=-⋅

  15. All the future predictions are meaningless. Climate scientists up in the tiny country to the north now predicting arctic sea lce gone by 2025 in summer.
    That means northern jetstream out of control. No crop season no food.
    southern jetstream new wild route also means crop failure. Did you know North America in its forth continuous crop depression . But I guess rhetoric counts more then facts in america.

  16. It’s a lot more difficult to compete with an already built coal plant. So yeah they’re capped now but it will be 15 years at least (likely more)before they close most of them.

  17. China is building an enormous amount of oil storage facilities, and the USA is the swing producer now. You’re worrying too much IMO.

  18. Get real Mr. Instant Gratification. Nothing happens overnight. Everything is transitional when you have skin in the game–no one wants to come out having drawn the short stick. I will guarantee you this: it took us (humanity) over 130 years to generate our current energy scene. The second time around, it’ll be nowhere close to that long.

  19. Good on them. They know the usage of coal is creating a dangerous and unwanted effect. Now we need to convince a billlion Hindus to shake the bad habit as well, and we’ll be in good shape.

  20. I don’t think the U.S. is going to be providing protection for China’s merchant marine in the future. That means that China is going to have a problem getting the amount of oil mentioned in the article to the mainland. They don’t have much of a blue water navy and they really don’t have time to build one. The results will not be pretty.

  21. If the added cost is so low, why haven’t such countries already done this? Could it be it’s not a simplistic as you imply?

  22. China will not be a unified country in 10 years. They will splinter like the USSR. Xi has already gotten his daughter out of the country.

  23. Any country that has sufficient wind and sun can and should at this stage put regulation in place at this stage to make these two reach 50% of energy generation by 2030 while incentivizing other clean base load additions for the bit of extra balancing of the network needed. All of this can come at a very little added cost.

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