China’s five-year plan has once again established a focus on green sustainable energy technologies. The government already recognizes that future economic growth cannot be sustained at the current rate with similar levels of high pollution and excessive consumption of natural resources. The energy development strategy included in this, the Twelfth Five Year Plan (spanning 2011 to 2015) focuses on structural adjustments to energy resources.
Domestic energy providers will be encouraged to acquire key technologies in emerging renewable energy industries in China and abroad. This is considered essential for the development of clean technologies / “new energy” in general.
The plan also includes a sensible layout for the development of new energy sectors in the country. With a focus on generation of wind, solar, biomass, coal gas, nuclear and smart grids.
Senior government officials have confirmed that China intends for non-fossil fuel-based energy sources to account for 11.4% of primary consumption in the country by the end of the plan.
The PV industry is expected to mature into an advanced manufacturing base and deliver high value to the new energy sector throughout the plan.
Smart grid technology is expected to be incorporated into all new transmission capabilities where possible. Ultra-high voltage lines covering 40,000 km will receive a 500 billion yuan investment to improve power transmission from resource-rich (but sparsely populated) western and inland regions to major population centers on the east coast.
The nuclear energy
China has reiterated that following the earthquake in Japan, its own nuclear strategy will remain unchanged, although it will temporarily halt construction of new construction until lessons can be learned from that disaster to improve the safety of its own plants. With long-term plans for 138 new nuclear power plants, the country has a serious commitment to this clean energy source. It is understood that Chinese uranium consumption will exceed US consumption by 2020.
The Chinese government will increase the levels of supervision of high pollution industries. This will almost certainly include a market capitalization on coal consumption volumes in today’s manufacturing hotspots such as the Pearl River Delta, Tianjin and Yangtze River Basin areas. There will also be a widely anticipated review of emission restrictions at coal-fired power plants that are expected to make Chinese standards the most stringent in the world today.
The commerce ministry and the NRDC are expected to revise the guidelines that control foreign investment in green industries to encourage more rapid growth in clean energy technology. The central and western regions of China will offer unusual levels of support to investors seeking to produce successful local partnerships in this field. It also supports a key element of the five-year plan to enhance the capacities of indigenous innovation structures and promote the transformation of these industries by taking advantage of new technologies.