Energy Transition Research Institute

China's Power Sector Shapes the Global Future

Few people shape the physical world more than those who control the Chinese electric power system. China’s power grids supply the world’s fastest growing major economy. But China’s power plants emit more carbon than the entire nation of India and its dams impound twice as much river water as Europe’s. The scale of these comparisons raises questions: What will it cost—in money and resources and global change—to power China’s future? Entri has devoted the last three years to developing the most advanced tool outside of China for analyzing China’s power sector and projecting its future. Our model of the Chinese power sector incorporates all of the technology choices before thepower planners, including generation, transmission, distribution, and demand management. Will China’s future grid perpetuate the use of coal and destructive hydropower? Will China build a state-of-the art power grid based on intermittent renewable resources? Will China be able to cap its use of coal and carbon dioxide emissions? If so, what will it cost? To answer these questions themselves, readers may explore the following studies:

China’s Future Generation: A study of the potential for renewable power on an hourly basis through 2050, performed for the World Wildlife Fund U.S.

A cost analysis of supply and demand technologies available for use in China performed in cooperation with the former State Electricity Reform Commission.

• A study of the benefits and costs of a rivers conservation scenario in China, conducted for International Rivers in Beijing.

• A detailed methodology for modeling the Chinese power sector.




Work Underway

Entri experts maintain working relationships with Chinese energy and climate leaders to explain China to the world and the United States to China. Our current projects in China include:

      • Advising provincial policy-makers and officials on "what works" in energy efficiency policy

      • Modeling grid-related emissions and costs of electric vehicles

      • Updating our econometric-engineering model of China's new generation of power generation technologies.

    Is China a Clean Energy Model?

    Read a review of The Globalization of Clean Energy Technology: Lessons From China, Kelly Sims Gallagher, MIT Press 2014, by Entri's William Chandler in Issues in Science and Technology, Winter 2015.  

    Energy Efficiency Finance

    Entri has shown that financing is a serious constraint on energy-efficiency investment in China. Our paper explores the potential for a “secondary market” mechanism for financing energy-efficiency projects in China. This mechanism could accelerate the pace of energy efficiency project development by making more capital available for project developers.