As a big energy consumer, China’s 2016 “BP World Energy Statistics” shows that China’s total primary energy consumption in 2015 reached 4.8634 billion oil equivalents, accounting for 36.8% of the world’s primary energy consumption. Energy is the driving force for economic development and is a modern The material foundation of civilization, how to maintain the sustainable development of energy economy and environment is a major strategic issue we face.
The status quo of China’s energy. When the People’s Republic of China was founded in 1949, the total primary energy production in the country was only 23.74 million tons of standard coal, ranking 10th in the world. In 1953, after the economic recovery in the early days of the founding of New China, the total production and total consumption of primary energy were developed to 52 million tons of standard coal and 54 million tons of standard coal, which doubled compared with the initial period of the founding of New China.
With the continuous development of economic construction, China’s energy industry has developed rapidly. By 1980, the total production and consumption of primary energy reached 637 million tons of standard coal and 603 million tons of standard coal, respectively. Compared with 1953, the average annual growth rate was 9.7% and 9.3%.
After the reform and opening up, China’s energy industry has achieved tremendous development and unprecedented progress in both quantity and quality. In 1998, China’s total primary energy production and consumption reached 1.24 billion tons of standard coal and 1.36 billion tons of standard coal, both ranking third in the world. In 2000, China’s primary energy output was 1.09 billion tons of standard coal. They are: 998 million tons of raw coal, accounting for 67.2%; 163 million tons of crude oil, accounting for 21.4%; natural gas 27.73 billion m³, accounting for 3.4%; hydropower 222.4 billion kw·h, accounting for 8%.
In summary, after entering the 21st century, China has the world’s third-largest energy system and has become the world’s largest energy country.
China’s energy has made great achievements, but we should also be soberly aware that there are still many major problems in China’s energy that need to be resolved by effective measures.
(1) Low energy consumption per capita
China’s total energy consumption is huge, surpassing Russia, second only to the United States, and ranking second in the world. However, due to the overpopulation, the per capita energy consumption level is very low.
From a global perspective, the more developed the economy, the greater the energy consumption. In the middle of the 21st century, China is to achieve the third-step strategic goal of economic and social development. The national economy will reach the level of a moderately developed country and the per capita energy consumption will increase greatly. By 2050, the per capita energy consumption will reach 2.38 tons of standard coal.
It is equivalent to the current world average, but still lower than the current level of developed countries. By then, based on the total population of 1.45 billion to 1.58 billion, the total demand for primary energy will reach 3.451 billion to 3.760 billion tons of standard coal, which is about 1.5 to 2.0 times the current total energy consumption in the United States, accounting for about the world’s primary energy at that time. 15%~20% of total consumption. It can be seen that from a quantitative point of view, this will be a huge challenge to China’s energy.
(2) Insufficient energy resources per capita
China has a vast land and rich resources. The total amount of natural resources ranks 7th in the world, and the total amount of energy resources is about 4 trillion tons of standard coal, ranking 3rd in the world. However, due to the large population of China, the per capita resource possession is relatively scarce, which is less than 1/2 of the world average.
With the acceleration of China’s industrialization and urbanization, the rapid growth of the national economy, and the strong pull of domestic and foreign demand, the newly formed production capacity will inevitably have a great impact on energy consumption, and energy supply and demand will continue to exist.
It can be seen that the relative shortage of energy resources per capita is a major limiting factor for China’s current economic and social sustainable development, and it is another huge challenge facing China’s energy in the 21st century.
(3) Low energy efficiency
According to the “Energy Efficiency Evaluation and Calculation Method” proposed by the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe, the total efficiency of the energy system consists of extraction efficiency (recovery of energy reserves), intermediate link efficiency (including processing conversion efficiency and storage and transportation efficiency) and terminal utilization efficiency (That is, the ratio of the useful energy obtained by the end user to the energy input at the beginning of the process) consists of three parts.
According to expert estimates, China’s total energy system efficiency in 2012 was 9.3%, of which the mining efficiency was 32%, the intermediate link efficiency was 70%, and the terminal utilization efficiency was 41%. The product of the intermediate link efficiency and the terminal utilization efficiency is usually called energy efficiency. China’s energy efficiency in 2012 was 29%, about 10 percentage points lower than the international advanced level. The terminal utilization efficiency is also about 10% lower than the international advanced level.
(4) Coal-based energy structure needs urgent adjustment
The production structure of China’s primary energy is excessive use of coal, mainly coal, which will inevitably bring about the consequences of low efficiency, large transportation volume, poor efficiency, and serious environmental pollution. It is urgent to adopt effective measures to adjust.
① A large amount of coal is seriously polluting the environment.
China’s coal consumption accounts for 27% of the world’s total coal consumption, and it is one of the few large coal-based energy consumers in the world.
Due to the large amount of environmental pollutants emitted by pollution sources such as coal and other energy sources, the particulate matter in most cities across the country exceeds the national limit: exceeding the national secondary emission standard; the area of cities with acid rain has reached 30% of the country’s land area; Nitrogen oxides are increasing unabated, and cities such as Beijing, Guangzhou, Urumqi, and Anshan have exceeded the national secondary emission standards. The economic losses caused by pollution and acid rain account for about 2% of the national GDP.
②Large use of coal leads to low energy efficiency
China’s energy efficiency is lower than the international advanced level, and the unit energy consumption of major energy-consuming products is higher than that of developed countries. This phenomenon is closely related to the coal-based energy structure. This is because the efficiency of the intermediate conversion device that uses coal as fuel is low, which is lower than that of the intermediate conversion device that uses liquid and gas as fuel. Generally speaking, the energy efficiency of coal-based energy structure is higher than that of oil-gas-based energy structure. The energy efficiency of the energy structure is 8-10% lower.
③The pressure of transportation is huge
China’s coal resources are mainly found in North China and Northwest China, hydropower resources are mainly distributed in Southwest China, and oil and natural gas resources are mainly found in East, Central, and West regions and sea areas. The main energy consumption areas are concentrated in the economically developed areas of the southeast coast, and there is a clear difference between the resources and energy consumption regions.
China’s coal production base is far away from the consumption center, forming a strong coal flow of coal from west to east, coal from north to south, and coal exit. Not only is the transportation volume large, but also the transportation distance is long. The heavy use of coal puts tremendous pressure on China’s transportation.
(5) Severe energy security issues
China’s energy security issue is mainly about the reliable supply of oil and natural gas. According to estimates by relevant agencies, China’s largest possible primary energy acquisition in 2050 is 3.5 to 4 billion tons of standard coal, which is a considerable gap with the demand for 5 billion tons of standard coal. Therefore, it is not feasible to rely on imports from the international market to solve such a huge supply gap, because this will not only be limited by the supply capacity of the international market, but also bear the huge political risk of supply security.