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Frontiers in Energy >> 2010, Volume 4, Issue 3 doi: 10.1007/s11708-010-0104-z

Modeling China’s energy dilemma: conflicts among energy saving, energy security, and CO 2 mitigation

State Key Laboratory of Power Systems, Department of Thermal Engineering, Tsinghua-BP Clean Energy Center, Tsinghua University, Beijing 100084, China;

Available online: 2010-09-05

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This study analyzes China’s future energy scenarios stretching until 2050 under different policy portfolios of energy security (e.g., oil import dependency) and CO emissions control. Four scenarios, namely, ① business as usual, ② strong oil import dependency (OID) control, ③ strong CO emissions control, and ④ twofold emphasis on OID and CO emissions control, are designed. The results reveal the existence of conflicts among China’s multiple objectives, particularly energy saving, energy security, and CO mitigation. Based on the analysis, an improvement in China’s efficiency in fossil energy conversion and the promotion of the utilization of non-fossil energy such as nuclear, wind, and hydro energy are recommended. The over-development of coal-derived fuels should also be avoided because of incremental coal consumption and CO emissions. Furthermore, research on and development of carbon capture and storage technologies should be promoted, while the energy efficiency loss caused by integrating these technologies into energy systems should be reduced in view of the high possibility of stricter standards for CO emissions in the future.

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