Full Title: Exploring China’s Pathway to a New Power System: Bringing Modern Elements Online Before Phasing Out the Old
Author(s): Shuo Gao, Qin Zhou, Yujing Liu, Ting Li, Ziyi Liu, Yuan Yao, and Zihao Chen
Publisher(s): Rocky Mountain Institute
Publication Date: March 5, 2023
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China has made a commitment to reach peak carbon dioxide emissions before 2030 and carbon neutrality by 2060. The power sector, which contributes about 40% of the country’s carbon emissions today, is at the heart of climate change solutions and the energy transition. Recognizing the significance of power decarbonization, China officially rolled out its concept of a New Power System in March 2021, and the concept was later reinforced in top-level Chinese climate policy. The fast-changing global energy landscape added complexity to the discussion of the New Power System. With the 2022 global energy crisis and the domestic power crunch of 2021 and 2022, the thinking around the New Power System was adjusted to better balance short-term challenges and long-term ambitions.
Although stakeholders in China agreed that the New Power System was the key to the zero-carbon future, more detailed and concrete consensus beyond this concept were yet to be determined. This report is built on RMI’s in-depth research and observation, and a series of roundtable discussions with full involvement of key stakeholders in China’s power sector. The report aims to boost confidence and identify commonly agreed challenges and major approaches to support the establishment of the New Power System.