Journal Article Sustainable Energy Transitions in China: Renewable Options and Impacts on the Electricity System

Sun, Xiaoyang  ,  Zhang, Baosheng  ,  Tang, Xu  ,  McLellan, Benjamin C.  ,  Höök, Mikael

9 ( 12 ) 2016-11-25 , MDPI AG
Chinese energy consumption has been dominated by coal for decades, but this needs to change to protect the environment and mitigate anthropogenic climate change. Renewable energy development is needed to fulfil the Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (INDC) for the post-2020 period, as stated on the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris. This paper reviews the potential of renewable energy in China and how it could be utilised to meet the INDC goals. A business-as-usual case and eight alternative scenarios with 40% renewable electricity are explored using the EnergyPLAN model to visualise out to the year 2030. Five criteria (total cost, total capacity, excess electricity, CO2 emissions, and direct job creation) are used to assess the sustainability of the scenarios. The results indicate that renewables can meet the goal of a 20% share of non-fossil energy in primary energy and 40%–50% share of non-fossil energy in electricity power. The low nuclear-hydro power scenario is the most optimal scenario based on the used evaluation criteria. The Chinese government should implement new policies aimed at promoting integrated development of wind power and solar PV

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