Press Release

New: A Guide to China’s Power Generation Dispatch

Apr 12, 2017

WASHINGTON—China has the largest electricity system in the world, and it is dominated by coal. China contributes 28 percent of the world’s anthropogenic carbon dioxide emissions (much of it from coal) and about half of China’s total coal is used by its power sector. Coal is also the main source of severe local air pollution in the nation. China is making major reforms to its electric power system, with plans to introduce market elements into a power dispatch system that is currently determined by administrative planning. Separately, China also plans to introduce a national carbon emission trading system in 2017.

Given the importance of the Chinese power sector, the global environmental policy community is very interested in its evolution. In order to better understand the serious challenges to power sector reform, a new paper and blog post by three researchers with a focus on China’s energy efforts has been posted today to the website of Resources for the Future (RFF). The authors explain:

“This report characterizes China’s generation dispatch process in its technical, historical, economic, and political contexts for a non-Chinese audience … The aim is to enable the reader to appreciate the current reform proposals and the challenges to improving efficiency and reducing pollution.”

The authors are Mun S. Ho, an economist at the Harvard University China Project on Energy, Economy and the Environment and a visiting fellow at RFF; Zhongmin Wang, a fellow at RFF in 2016; and Zichao Yu, a PhD candidate at the Indiana University School of Public and Environmental Affairs, who was an intern at RFF in 2016. Support for this research was also provided by RFF’s Power Market Initiative.

Read the full paper—China’s Power Generation Dispatch.

Read the blog post—Reforming China’s Electricity System: Unsuccessful Attempts and New Proposals.

Resources for the Future does not take institutional positions. Please attribute any findings to the authors or the research itself. For example, use "According to research from RFF …" rather than "According to RFF …".

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Resources for the Future (RFF) is an independent, nonpartisan organization based in Washington, DC, that conducts rigorous economic research and analysis to improve environmental and natural resource policy.