”China's Energy Revolution: Measuring the Status Quo, Modelling Regional Dynamics and Assessing Global Impacts” - PhD thesis ready for public defense
As the world's largest economy in transition, China plays a growing role in global energy markets, clean technology deployment and climate change negotiations. The Chinese president Xi Jinping called in June 2014 for an “energy revolution” of the country’s “energy production and consumption habits in light of changing dynamics in global energy markets”. This highlights the strategic importance of China’s energy sector in the country’s national economic planning and its associated global impacts. China furthermore has a growing research and development budget and plays an increasing role in global scientific collaboration networks. This research takes thus place in a fascinating, highly complex and fast-paced research environment. The overall aim of this PhD thesis is to describe and discuss the main characteristics China's "energy revolution" by means of (i) measuring and quantifying the status quo of China's energy sector with a focus on major regional characteristics, (ii) modelling selected future scenarios for different regions of China, and (iii) benchmarking and visualizing associated global impacts of China’s “energy revolution”. The general framework of investigation was chosen as a cross-disciplinary and highly collaborative approach. Different quantitative-based, economic, technical, and financial planning tools are developed and applied in this regard. The theories underlying this research are stemming from various scientific disciplines, such as energy and power engineering, macro- and energy-economics, and power project finance. Cross-cutting aspects are the harmonization of Chinese and international energy statistics and the communication of complex scientific results for a broad scientific and public audience. The results of this thesis are relevant for a broad scientific and public audience interested in an overview of China’s ongoing energy and power system transition.
作为世界最大的发展中经济体，中国在全球能源市场和国际气候谈判中扮演着越来越重要的角色。 国家主席习近平在2014年6月的中央财经领导小组会议中提出，必须推动能源生产和消费革命，形成主要由市场决定能源价格的机制 （新华社，2014）。这加强了能源部门在全国经济规划和相关国际影响中的重要性。另外，中国也在增加科研研发预算和增强国际科研合作中的地位。大量的国家和省级统计构建了重要能源部门的数据计量和建立区域动态的基础。由于中国官方统计数据的质量、可靠性和可用性在学术界被怀疑和讨论，这为中国相关的研究课题带来了额外的复杂性。
所以本文处在前沿、高度复杂的和快节奏的研究领域中。本论文的目的是在以下几个方面描述和讨论中国的“能源革命”： (i) 测量和量化中国能源系统并集中讨论主要的区域特色，(ii) 模拟中国能源部门的未来情景并集中讨论国内各区域的动态变化，(iii) 基准化和可视化中国“能源革命”的全球影响。论文的总体框架采用了跨学科和高度协作的方式，并开发了不同的经济，技术和财务规划工具。本研究的理论基础由不同学科理论组成，例如能源与动力工程，宏观和能源经济学和电力项目融资。中国和国际能源统计的协调，以及复杂的科学成果和公众之间的沟通是本研究的交叉研究方面。
本文的创新点和研究结果包括：(i) 采用务实的方法，按照国际上常用的能源平衡表的方式构建了中国分地区能源平衡表; (ii) 对18个中国能源建模工具进行了文献综述和基准设定，并对中国国内对于低碳经济的视角进行了讨论； (iii)在中国能源系统范围内的利用能流图来形容当前的各区域能源系统的不同; (iv) 整合了两个复杂的自上而下和自下而上的全球能源规划模型，从全球角度模拟了中国的能源行业未来的区域动态耦合；(v) 计算了中国的聚光太阳能发电厂的发电成本和对未来的技术前景进行了讨论。论文的结论契合了科学界和公共的中国正在进行的能源和动力系统的转型。这项研究的透明，协作和跨学科的方法让我们从各种经济，技术和财政的角度对中国的“能源革命”有了更深的认识，同时强调相关的复杂性和不确定性，如统计问题。
Dear energy colleagues,
I wish you a happy and successful new year 2015! Let me also take the opportunity to thank you for about 15000 total visits to this website in 2014, this is really encouraging. It seems furthermore that this trend is slightly increasing, as the attached figure for daily and monthly page views from 01.07.2014 to 01.01.2015 indicates. The second half of 2014 had 9100 page visitors alone, thereof 5900 new visitors. Hopefully I will have enough time to continue this energy blog in 2015.
If there is an interesting international and China-specific energy sector topic that you are missing here
and/or you would like to contribute to this energy blog, please get in touch with me here.
Warm regards from Copenhagen,
Stay tuned on my latest China energy research...
...and don't hesitate to let me know what you think about the topic.
George Edward Pelham Box (1919 – 2013) a British mathematician and professor of statistics is amongst others famous for the following quote "Essentially, all models are wrong, but some are useful". He inspired me to take a deeper look on China's energy models and planning tools in my recent work.
While research efforts to analyse China’s future energy system increased tremendously over the past decade, it remains challenging to get a good overview on China's major energy sector developments and future policies in a systematic way. I think it's time to understand and learn more about China's domestic energy models and planning tools. Therefore my recent study compares and describes 18 energy modelling tools from ten Chinese institutions. These energy planning models have been described in English language publications between 2005 and 2013, although not all are published in peer-reviewed journals.
What's useful to know about China's domestic energy planning tools?
• The number of energy models developed in China is increasing. Beijing-based institutions are the drivers of China's energy model development since 2005.
• The range of results presented by Chinese researchers is quite large. Reference scenarios for China's future development until 2050 show significant result ranges for energy demand and emissions.
• The Chinese perspective, independently from the modelling approach and institution, suggests a rather gradual and long-term transition towards a low carbon economy. While energy policy scenarios frequently suggest efficiency improvements, a short-term and large-scale introduction of non-fossil power technologies is rarely recommended.
This piece of work got just published here. It is hopefully a starting point for a debate on models and planning tools for China. Your comments are welcome.
What measures are being taken to tackle China's soaring air-pollution, a problem that is linked to the country's coal-dependent energy sector?
While traveling to Shanghai, Beijing, Nanjing and Qingdao in December 2013, this is what I noticed from personal discussions and local media news:
Taking some months of my PHD to identify, access, and evaluate relevant energy statistics and indicators for East, Central and West China in an international context, I just published a working paper on September 30 entitled "China's energy statistics in a global context: A methodology to develop regional energy balances for East, Central and West China" (see also publications).
And indeed it already received positive feedback and stimulated a discussion in WEIBO, the Chinese micro blog.
The summary of my key findings is as follows:
I would appreciate further comments and views you might have!