Future implications of China's energy-technology choices: summary of a report to the Working Group on Energy Strategies and Technologies

Wu Zongxin, Pat DeLaquil, Eric D. Larson, Chen Wenying, Gao Pengfei

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10 Scopus citations


This paper summarizes results of an assessment of future energy-technology strategies for China highlighting implications of different advanced energy-technology strategies that could allow China to continue its social and economic development while ensuring national energy-supply security and promoting environmental sustainability. The MARKAL energy-system modeling tool was used to build a model of China's energy system. Different scenarios for the evolution of energy supply and demand from 1995 to 2050 were explored, enabling insights to be gained into different energy development choices that China might make. The overall conclusion from the analysis is that there are plausible energy-technology strategies that would enable China to continue social and economic development through at least the next 50 years while ensuring security of energy supply and improved local and global environmental quality. Surprisingly, except for the case when very major reductions in carbon emissions are sought, the model predicts that such energy strategies would not involve significantly higher cumulative (1995-2050) discounted costs for the energy system than "business-as-usual" strategies. Furthermore, "business-as-usual" strategies, which were also modeled, will not enable China to meet all of its environmental and energy security goals. To meet these goals, an energy development strategy that relies on the introduction of advanced technologies is essential. To realize such strategies, policies are needed in China that will (1) encourage utilization of a wider variety of primary energy sources (especially biomass and wind) and clean secondary energy carriers (especially synthetic fluid fuels from coal and biomass), (2) support the development, demonstration and commercialization of radically new clean energy conversion technologies to ensure that they are commercially available beginning in the next 10 to 20 years, and (3) support aggressive end-use energy efficiency improvement measures.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)19-31
Number of pages13
JournalEnergy for Sustainable Development
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2001

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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