The Dragon awakens: Innovation, competition, and transition in the energy strategy of the People's Republic of China, 1949–2017

Long Zhang, Benjamin K. Sovacool, Jingzheng Ren, Adrian Ely

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

27 Citations (Scopus)


We divide this history into six phases: Emergence (1949–1957), Socialist construction (1958–1965), Turbulence (1966–1978), Reform (1979–2000), Contestation (2001–2014), and Transition (2015-present). Over the whole history of more than sixty years, China's energy production and consumption grew at a surprising speed, while energy intensity exhibited early fluctuations and a subsequent gradual decrease after the turbulence phase. In tracing this history, the article offers new historical and policy insights into the world's largest developing country and a theoretical contribution to the role of the state in shaping economy and society through energy policy. The article lastly offers an in-depth exploration of how command-and-control style administrative intervention and low levels of market liquidity have had a prophylactic effect on innovation and competition.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)634-644
Number of pages11
JournalEnergy Policy
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2017


  • China
  • Energy security
  • Energy strategy
  • Energy sustainability

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Energy(all)
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law

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