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Country insight – China

14 March 2022
Strong growth in electrification supported by an increase in renewable power is the key driver of decarbonizing China’s energy system 


-1.8% to 13%

growth in primary energy in 2019-2050 under all scenarios

5% to 19%

share of coal in primary energy in 2050

37% to 62%

share of renewables in primary energy in 2050v

98% to 52%

net decline in CO₂ emissions by 2050

Under all three scenarios, China’s primary energy rises in the short term before declining post 2040
Renewable energy grows strongly in all the scenarios, becoming the largest energy source in Accelerated and Net Zero
Coal declines dramatically, in Accelerate and Net Zero it falls to less than 5% of primary energy from over 50% now



  • Primary energy modestly declines in both in Accelerated and Net Zero, it increases by 13% in New Momentum. In all three scenarios China’s share of primary energy remains at 23%.
  • Liquids demand continues to grow in the short term, but all three scenarios declines post 2030. In Accelerated liquids demand falls to 1.7 Mb/d and in Net Zero to 1.0 Mb/d from 4.3 Mb/d in 2019. primarily due to efficiency gains and electrification of the transport sector.
  • China’s nuclear power grows significantly across all three scenarios from 3 EJs now to between 13 EJs in New Momentum to 16 EJs in Net Zero.
  • Renewable energy growth is intense in the three scenarios with average growth per year in the range of 6%-7%. As a result, renewable energy becomes the largest source of primary energy in 2050 in all three scenarios. Onshore wind accounts the largest share of renewable power generation in Accelerated and Net Zero.
  • In response to the increase renewables, coal production declines dramatically. In Accelerated and Net Zero, coal production declines by over 90% and even in New Momentum declines by 70%.
  • Carbon capture and storage plays a pivotal role in decarbonizing China’s energy system. In Accelerated and Net Zero over 1 Gt CO₂ is captured from power, industrial and process emissions.
  • Carbon emissions vary dramatically by scenario. In New Momentum emissions decrease by around 52% in 2050. In Accelerated and Net Zero, emissions decrease by 90% and 98%, respectively.