China, a week after unveiling an accord aimed at limiting carbon emissions, said it plans to cap the increasing rate at which it consumes energy to 28 percent for the seven-year period to 2020. Though still substantial, such an increase would compare with a 45 percent surge in energy use in the seven years to 2013, according to data from the National Bureau of Statistics.
China is aiming to get 15 percent of its energy from non-fossil-fuel sources, more than 10 percent from natural gas and less than 62 percent from coal. The nation will limit coal consumption to about 4.2 billion tons by 2020, according to a statement Wednesday by China’s State Council.
The statement marks the latest attempt by China’s policymakers to limit the nation’s appetite for energy. Reflecting its rapid industrialization and economic growth, China has become a voracious consumer of energy, changing global energy markets and the geopolitics of energy security.
The goals set by the State Council represent a road map for China’s energy development strategy until 2020. They are contained in a paper dated June 7, long before President Xi Jinping said last week that China will strive to double the amount of energy it gets from zero emission sources in the next 16 years.
The targets are set against the backdrop of increasing environmental pollution, which is pressuring China’s authorities to curb coal consumption and increase the share of lower-emission technology used in energy production.
Coal accounted for 66 percent of China’s energy consumption last year, according to the statistics bureau. The U.S. gets about 30 percent of its electricity from coal, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance data.
Global coal demand surged more than 50 percent in the 10 years to 2013, with China the principal source of the increase, the International Energy Agency said in its most recent World Energy Outlook. China surpassed the European Union as the world’s largest net coal importer in 2012.
China aims to have coal bed methane output of 30 billion cubic meters by 2020 and shale gas production of above 30 billion cubic meters, according to the statement.
The world’s second-biggest economy also plans to install as much as 58 gigawatts of nuclear power by 2020, with an additional 30 gigawatts or more under construction by then. China has about 15 gigawatts of nuclear power at the moment.