More nuclear plants and renewable energy under new development plan

China will also boost oil exploration and use less coal and more natural gas under the a new seven-year development plan from the State Council

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 19 November, 2014, 6:03pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 14 June, 2018, 4:44pm

China will boost oil exploration, use less coal and more natural gas, build more nuclear plants and develop renewable energy under a new seven-year development plan.

The State Council’s newly released plans for 2014-2020 marks the latest attempt by policymakers to limit the nation’s appetite for energy. Reflecting its rapid industrialisation and economic growth, China has become a voracious consumer of energy, changing global energy markets and the geopolitics of energy security.

The document sets out five strategic tasks for the nation’s energy development. The first is to achieve greater energy independence by promoting clean and efficient use of coal, increasing domestic oil production, and developing renewable energy .

China plans to develop new and existing oilfields in nine regions where it has large proven reserves – including in the northwestern, central and northeastern provinces as well as offshore fields in the Bohai Gulf and the East and South China seas.

The plan also calls for boosting offshore oil exploration though improved exploration trace analysis, promoting deep-sea bidding from foreign corporations to develop offshore sites and greater research and development in deep-sea oil discovery technology and equipment.

The plan’s second task is to curb excessive energy consumption and implement energy-efficiency programmes in urban and rural areas. The third task builds on this goal by cutting the proportion of coal used in the nation’s energy production while using more natural gas, nuclear power and renewable energy. The plan calls for more nuclear plants to be built along the coast “at a suitable time” while also studying the feasibility of inland nuclear plants.

The fourth task is to expand international cooperation in energy, establish regional markets and participate in global energy governance. The fifth is to promote innovation in energy-related technology.

According to the plan, China’s annual energy consumption by 2020 should be equal to 4.8 billion tonnes of standard coal. China’s energy use surged 45 per cent in the seven years to last year, National Bureau of Statistics data shows.

The State Council document was dated June 7, before President Xi Jinping last week said that China would strive to double the amount of energy it gets from zero-emission sources over the next 16 years, while cutting coal consumption in Beijing, Tianjin, Hebei and Shandong, the Pearl River Delta and the Yangtze Delta region.