China’s en­ergy land­scape grow­ing: re­port

China Daily (Canada) - - ACROSS AMERICA - By CHEN WEI­HUA in Wash­ing­ton chen­wei­hua@chi­nadai­

China’s slower eco­nomic growth and its eco­nomic tran­si­tion and fuel mix will have a ma­jor im­pact on the global en­ergy mar­ket in the next 20 years, ac­cord­ing to the 2017 BP En­ergy Out­look re­leased in Wash­ing­ton on Wed­nes­day.

The re­port projects that China’s en­ergy de­mand growth will slow to 1.9 per­cent a year through the next 20 years to 2035, less than a third of China’s pace in the last 20 years of 6.3 per­cent a year. How­ever, China will still con­sume more than a quar­ter of the world’s en­ergy in 2035.

The re­port also pre­dicts that China’s en­ergy in­ten­sity will de­cline by 3 per­cent a year go­ing to­ward 2035, com­pared with the global av­er­age of 2 per­cent. It fore­casts that China’s en­ergy mix con­tin­ues to evolve, with coal’s share fall­ing from 64 per­cent to­day to 42 per­cent in 2035, ac­cord­ing to the re­port.

Spencer Dale, BP’s chief econ­o­mist, said on Wed­nes­day that China is likely to see a sharp change in the pat­tern of coal con­sump­tion due to the chang­ing pace and pat­tern of growth — slower eco­nomic growth, less en­ergy-in­ten­sive growth and a com­mit­ment to re­duce de­pen­dency on coal.

The suf­fo­cat­ing pol­lu­tion in Chi­nese ci­ties has sparked a pub­lic out­cry. As a re­sult, the gov­ern­ment’s 13th FiveYear Plan (2016-2020) has fo­cused on sus­tain­able and less en­ergy-in­ten­sive growth and has set a series of more strin­gent cli­mate and car­bon-re­duc­tion tar­gets.

While coal fu­eled China’s rapid in­dus­tri­al­iza­tion in the 1990s, Dale said “those days are over”.

“The growth of Chi­nese coal con­sump­tion is likely to slow sharply, and ul­ti­mately stops and de­clines,” he said at the re­port’s launch at the Cen­ter for Strate­gic and In­ter­na­tional Stud­ies (CSIS).

The re­port pre­dicts China’s en­ergy con­sump­tion to grow by 47 per­cent and pro­duc­tion to grow by 38 per­cent dur­ing the 2015-2035 pe­riod, both faster than the global av­er­age of 31 per­cent and 29 per­cent, re­spec­tively.

It fore­casts that China’s share in global en­ergy de­mands will rise from 23 per­cent in 2015 to 26 per­cent in 2035.

The re­port also fore­casts that China’s nu­clear en­ergy will grow by 10.6 per­cent a year from 2015 to 2035, to ac­count for 31 per­cent of global nu­clear en­ergy gen­er­a­tion by 2035. And by 2035, China will also be­come the sec­ond-largest shale gas pro­ducer after the US.

In an ar­ti­cle on China-US Fo­cus web­site this week, Dong­ping Han, a pro­fes­sor at War­ren Wil­son Col­lege in North Carolina, com­pared China’s re­cent an­nounce­ment to scrap 85 coal power plants un­der con­struc­tion and in­vest­ing $361 bil­lion in green en­ergy to US Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s talk about in­vest­ing more in coal as a source of en­ergy.

“China’s move in this di­rec­tion will fur­ther strengthen China’s lead­er­ship po­si­tion in green en­ergy,” Han said.

While global en­ergy de­mand will grow by around 30 per­cent over the next two decades, Dale said al­most all of that growth is com­ing from the emerg­ing mar­kets, where 2 bil­lion peo­ple are be­ing lifted out of low in­comes and into mid­dle in­comes. “In that sense, in­creas­ing en­ergy use is a good news story. It’s re­lated to in­creas­ing pros­per­ity, liv­ing stan­dards we ex­pect to see in the emerg­ing mar­kets, which drive global growth over the next 20 years,” he said.

The an­nual re­port also noted that the in­crease in global en­ergy de­mand is sub­stan­tially off­set by rapid gains in en­ergy ef­fi­ciency.

Dale said that fore­cast­ing is not about be­ing right or wrong. “For me, the point of fore­cast­ing is bet­ter un­der­stand­ing the na­ture of un­cer­tain­ties,” he said, adding that BP is still in­vest­ing $17 bil­lion a year in the en­ergy sec­tor.

In­creas­ing en­ergy use is a good news story. It’s re­lated to in­creas­ing pros­per­ity.”

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