Nuclear power will feature in China's efforts to ensure energy security for the country's continued economic growth, premier Li Keqiang said at the first meeting of the newly-established National Energy Administration (NEA).
Headed by Li, the NEA was set up to coordinate China's overall energy policies. It includes representatives from other agencies, including the environment and finance ministries, the central bank and the National Development and Reform Commission. The NEA will draft a new energy development strategy, evaluate energy security and coordinate international cooperation on climate change, carbon emissions reduction and energy efficiency.
"China will wage a war against smog and step up ecological protection measures by further saving energy and cutting emissions."
Premier of China
Speaking at the administration's first meeting on 18 April, Li said that "energy supply and security is related to the overall situation of China's modernization." He said that the country needs "a clean, efficient and safe sustainable energy development path, to provide support for stable economic growth."
He said that, in order to enhance its energy security, China will increase both onshore and offshore oil and gas exploration and development while promoting the development of unconventional oil and gas resources, such as shale gas, shale oil and coal bed methane. At the same time, China will work to increase its use of cleaner energy and improve energy efficiency. It will also actively promote the use of electric vehicles and call for coal-powered plants to be modified to reduce their emissions.
Li said that a number of projects will be launched "to improve energy security capabilities." Included in these will be the "timely launch" of new nuclear power plant construction projects in China's eastern coastal region. The country has a nuclear capacity target for 2020 of 58 GWe in operation and 30 GWe under construction. There are currently 28 units under construction, with a further 34 coastal units planned. Construction of 24 units at inland sites has been deferred.
Other projects planned to be launched soon include the construction of hydropower, wind and solar energy projects, as well as building ultra-high voltage transmission lines.
"These energy projects can ensure stable economic growth and increase China's capability to safeguard energy security," he said. He added, "China will wage a war against smog and step up ecological protection measures by further saving energy and cutting emissions."
Li said that China will accelerate the pace of reform of the electricity market "to promote direct trading, providing a more economical, high quality power protection, letting the market play a decisive role in the allocation of power resources."
China generated a total of 1.3 trillion kWh of electricity during the first quarter of 2014, a 5.4% increase from the same period in 2013, the NEA said. China's 20 operating nuclear power reactors have a combined generating capacity of 17,055 MWe and supply about 2% of the country's electricity.
Researched and written
by World Nuclear News