Reinventing Fire: China Report Released at G20 Energy Efficiency Forum

September 16th 2016

Reinventing Fire: China, a groundbreaking energy roadmap for China that shows how the country can meet its ambitious, six-fold 2050 economic growth target using almost the same amount of energy in 2050 as 2010, but with substantially more renewable energy and less coal was released on September 6th at the G20 Energy Efficiency Forum in Beijing. The report was authored by the Energy Research Institute (ERI) under China’s National Development and Reform Commission, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab), and Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI), with support from Energy Foundation China (EF China).

The roadmap identifies a pathway for China where:

  • Energy efficiency and other demand management strategies peak China’s energy consumption by 2034 and drop demand to 2010 levels by 2050, decoupling economic growth from intensive energy use.
  • Non-fossil and non-emitting energy sources generate 82% of China’s electricity in 2050, and renewable sources alone meet 68% of total energy demand on an absolute basis.
  • Coal consumption peaks by 2020, while CO2 emissions peak in 2025.
  • Existing, cost-effective solutions are deployed, yielding an economic boost of 21 trillion RMB net present value (3.1 trillion USD) to China through 2050.

“Based on China’s energy development and long-term planning, Reinventing Fire: China provides valuable policy recommendations to optimize the energy structure, implement low-carbon development, and achieve China’s CO2 emissions peaking goal by 2030 and other renewables development goals. This roadmap not only lays out the concept and provides the method to get there, but it also reinforces the imperative for a Chinese and global energy revolution,” said Dai Yande, Director General of ERI.

The research analyzed four sectors of China's economy: industry, transportation, buildings, and transformation. The analysis shows how demand reduction, energy efficiency, integrative design, renewable energy sources, and other options can be deployed to address China’s most pressing energy challenges and support China’s development goals.

The project was launched in June 2013 by ERI, RMI, LBNL, and EF China. More than fifty experts from both sides of the Pacific collaborated over three years to build one of the most sophisticated models yet developed on China’s energy system. The policy recommendations in the report were strengthened by valuable guidance and suggestions from an advisory panel of fourteen senior experts and government advisors.

“The research approach is an example of innovative international collaboration. We think the findings are helpful for setting China’s medium and long-term energy strategy, and offer policy recommendations to facilitate China’s transition to a low-emissions, climate-resilient economy”, said He Dongquan, Vice President of Programs, Energy Foundation China.