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.
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Personal insights from my energy sector business travels and meetings.