China to promote clean and efficient use of coal, work faster to develop new energy system

China will accelerate the establishment of a new type of power system, while pushing for cleaner and more efficient use of coal and relevant technological research and development, said Premier Li Keqiang in the government work report, during the opening meeting of the first session of China's 14th National People's Congress on Sunday.

The new energy system, featuring a gradual increase in the proportion of new energy sources and large-scale optimization of clean power resources, is intended to further consolidate renewable energy's role in the country's energy mix.

The policy guidance reflects China's intention to continue reducing energy consumption per unit of GDP and emission of major pollutants, exercise better control over fossil fuel consumption, and improve its ecological environment, which have been listed among projected development targets for this year.

Over the past five years, China has seen sustained endeavors in energy conservation and carbon reduction, with coordinated efforts made in ensuring safe and stable energy supply and promoting green and low-carbon development, to achieve its targets of carbon peak by 2030 and carbon neutrality by 2060, said Premier Li in the work report. 

Pointing to China's significantly optimized energy mix, Li said the past five years have seen China's ultra-low emission coal-fired capacity exceeding 1050 gigawatts, with installed capacity of renewable energy increasing from 650 gigawatts to more than 1200 gigawatts, and clean energy's contribution to energy consumption rising to over 25 percent, up from 20.8 percent.

Despite the rapid development of clean energy in recent years, Li noted in the report that "coal has continued to play its role as a primary energy source in China over the past year." Advanced coal capacity has been added to further support power generation and heat supply enterprises to ensure reliable energy supply, according to the report. 

Preliminary estimation by China's National Bureau of Statistics indicated china's total energy consumption in 2022 amounted to 5.41 billion tonnes of standard coal equivalent, of which, coal consumption accounted for 56.2 percent, 0.3 percentage point higher than that of 2021. Clean energy consumption, such as natural gas, hydropower, nuclear power, wind power and solar power, accounted for 25.9 percent, 0.4 percentage point higher from the year before.

Tectonic shifts in global geopolitical landscape marked by the Ukraine conflict, has led to major fluctuations in the energy market, making energy security one of the most pressing challenges facing global development, according to a report on global energy security published last year by Sinopec Economics & Development Research Institute, a major energy think tank in China.

Victor Gao, chair professor of Soochow University, told CGTN that coal still remains to be an important part of China's economy. Instead of banning coal outright, China needs to work on developing relevant technologies that will promote its clean and efficient use, to ensure energy security and achieve green development, Gao noted.

(Cover via CFP)

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