(Yicai Global) March 6 -- This year, China will focus on controlling fossil fuel consumption, reducing energy usage and trimming emissions of major pollutants per unit of gross domestic product, the Chinese Premier Li Keqiang said in a speech delivered on the first day of the Two Sessions, the country’s annual policy setting meetings, yesterday.
Although the share of clean energy consumption in China continued to rise last year, the proportion of coal used also rebounded for the first time since 2012, industry insiders told Yicai Global. This might have to do with a complex supply and demand situation, they said.
Consumers turned to coal last year, because the Russia-Ukraine conflict drove up the price of natural gas, said Chen Shouhai, director of the Oil and Gas Policy and Law Research Center at the China University of Petroleum.
China’s total energy consumption in 2022 climbed 2.9 percent from the year before to the equivalent of 5.4 billion tons of standard coal, according to data released by the National Bureau of Statistics on Feb. 28. Coal consumption accounted for 56.2 percent of this, up from 55.9 percent in 2021 and a 4.3 percent year on year gain. Crude oil consumption, by contrast, tumbled 3.1 percent and that of natural gas 1.2 percent.
Clean energy now accounts for more than a quarter of China’s total energy consumption, up from 20.8 percent five years ago. Last year, the installed capacity of renewable energy nearly doubled since 2018 to over 1.2 billion kilowatts.
However, it is still difficult for green energy to become mainstream because the overall scale is still small, and the amount of installed capacity does not equal actual reliable power generation, said Lin Boqiang, director of the China Institute for Studies in Energy Policy at Xiamen University.
In order for renewable energy to become the main energy source, the power supply must be guaranteed, a ultra-high voltage power grid and energy storage facilities to support renewable energy bases need to be constructed and they should operate reliably, Lin said.
Editors: Tang Shihua, Kim Taylor