China: Striving to set up new energy systems with sustainable development


It represents as a strategy of vital importance with a focus of global attention to set up new sustainable developing energy systems in the contemporary world.

In his report to the 17th Communist Party of China (CPC) National Congress held in mid October, Party General Secretary Hu Jintao proposed to improve energy, resources, ecological and environmental conservation, to enhance the capacity for sustainable growth and to develop clean and renewable energy sources. For a great nation like China, a 30 to 50-year strategic objective for energy development and structural adjustment should be drafted as part of an effort to attain its goal for spurring energy conservation and reducing the discharge of pollutants in the present period and for achieving sustainable energy development in the future.

First of all, it is imperative to clarify an strategic objective for national energy development. I hold that it is crucial to realize China’s energy conservation and lessen the discharge of pollutants by a big margin. Personally, I deem it ideal for the country’s total amount of fossil-based energy not to outstrip the limit of 50% as compared with 2005 and the per unit GDP energy consumption to reach the medium levels of developed nations by then.

For China’s relatively ideal energy structure, I suppose, non-hydraulic, sustainable energy should account at least for about 25% of the primary energy, whereas the hydropower and nuclear energy should make up more than 20%. Besides, it is imperative to draw a roadmap for the scientific, technological development of energy in China. In the near future up to the year 2020, emphases should placed on technologies to conserve energy, and develop clean and renewable energy and raise energy efficiency while acquiring key technologies concerning the carbon dioxide capture, storage and utilization and carrying out related technical exhibitions, he noted. For the metaphase to around 2030, emphases should be placed on spurring the transfer of nuclear energy and non-hydraulic, renewable energy to the status as China’s principal energies for development.

Moreover, breakthroughs should be scored in technologies relating to fast neutron reactor, nuclear power reactors in commercial operation, and the effective use and safe disposal of nuclear waste; further advances will be attained in the highly-efficient solar cell charge transfer and in the innovative role of mechanism in photosynthesis and the industrial exhibition and scale production in materializing agricultural leftovers, materialization or biochemistry transfer of cellulose or semi-cellulose and in the development of intelligent energy network and hydrogen energy system. With respect to the forward period around 2050, China should establish its sustainable energy systems, in which the dependence extent of its total energy supply structure on fossil energy would be cut to less than 60%, and renewable energy and nuclear energy would be the country’s leading energy sources at that time.

Thirdly, it is imperative to go on improving the basic framework of sustainable energy development systems. In recent years, academic committees of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) have launched strategic studies on the basic framework of the sustainable energy growth in five aspects for the first half of the 21st century. This framework is composed of continuing to give scope to the clean use of coal, ensuring oil and natural gas supply, exerting great efforts to develop hydropower and nuclear power, tapping on a fuller scale non-hydraulic and renewable energy, and going all out to support the researches on new energy sources of the future.

Fourth, it is imperative to take effective, practical measures to promote the establishment of energy sustainable development systems, so as to help prioritizing China’s energy supply and mix. Meanwhile, it is essential to draft and implement blueprints for energy conservation and discharge reduction in response to climate change, and to formulate new energy technology development and innovation systems and action plans. And additional efforts will be made to conduct in a sustainable way relevant researches and international cooperation on (nuclear) fusion energy. (

By Professor Lu Yongxiang, the president of the CAS and concurrently vice-chairman of the Standing Committee of the Chinese National People’s Congress (NPC), and translated by People’s Daily Online.

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