China’s energy supply: Status quo, policies, and pathways

Long Zhang, Wuliyasu Bai, Mengqin Yu, Jingzheng Ren

Research output: Chapter in book / Conference proceedingChapter in an edited book (as author)Academic researchpeer-review


China has been the largest energy consumer in the world for almost a decade and faces increasing pressure in terms of energy supply. By reviewing China’s historical energy data since the reform and opening up, we analyzed the status quo of China from five aspects including growing external energy dependence, coal-dominated energy mix, regional imbalance between supply and demand, rapid development of renewable energy, and structural overcapacity. Then, we analyzed the evolution of China’s energy strategy and policy since the reform and opening up, dividing it into three stages: diversification strategy focused on electricity (1981-2005), energy security strategy focused on energy conservation and efficiency (2005-2015), and transition strategy focused on low-carbon and clean energy (2015-Present). Over this history of near forty years, China’s energy production and consumption has grown at a surprising speed, as did their dependence on external energy supplies. Energy intensity exhibited early fluctuations and a subsequent gradual decrease after the turbulence phase, and a diverse trend has been witnessed with the increasing growth of gas consumption and renewable energy capacity. Finally, this chapter proposes the future path for China’s energy transition: diversification, low-carbonization, intellectualization, integration, and international cooperation, which offers some policy implications for shaping China’s energy future.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationChina’s Energy Security
Subtitle of host publicationAnalysis, Assessment And Improvement
PublisherWorld Scientific Publishing Co.
Number of pages36
ISBN (Electronic)9781786349224
Publication statusPublished - 18 Dec 2020


  • China
  • Energy strategy
  • Energy supply
  • Energy transition

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences(all)
  • Economics, Econometrics and Finance(all)
  • Business, Management and Accounting(all)


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