China should become a global leader in energy efficiency by 2050 when nuclear power and renewable energy is likely to account for at least half of the country's energy mix.
A senior State leader yesterday urged policymakers to come up with strengthened efforts to draw up such a long-term "strategic roadmap" for China's energy industry while focusing on clean energy development.
"We should have a clear strategic roadmap," said Lu Yongxiang, vice-chairman of the Standing Committee of the 11th National People's Congress. "It is not only for 2020, but also for 2030 and 2050."
"By 2050, China should become a global leader in energy efficiency while advocating cleaner energy development," Lu, who is also president of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, said.
To reduce environmental impact and save resources, he said China should decrease its use of fossil fuels and accelerate the restructuring of its energy consumption mix during its rapid industrialization and urbanization.
In his own roadmap, Lu said nuclear energy may consist of 25 to 30 percent of China's total energy consumption by 2050, with renewable energy such as hydro power likely to account for 20 to 25 percent of China's energy consumption by that time.
"By then, our fossil energy dependence can be reduced to 50 percent and I personally believe this goal should be reachable," Lu said.
In another development, latest research has shown that China's energy consumption is very likely to reach 3.1 billion tons of standard coal equivalent by 2010, 100 million tons more than the earlier ceiling.
And by 2020, when China is expected to realize its goal of becoming a well-off society, the country's energy consumption will reach 4.3 billion tons of standard coal equivalents.
Lu Zhongyuan, vice-president of the Development Research Centre of the State Council, described the numbers as "the most likely scenario" for China's energy consumption.
"Growing energy and resources demand has already become China's top challenge for further development," Lu said at the three-day China Development Forum, which ends today in Beijing.
The government has taken various measures in recent years, such as linking energy-saving performance to decide the career future of officials and the leaders of the State-owned enterprises, in order to curb the growth of energy consumption.
Last year, the country consumed 2.65 billion tons of standard coal equivalent, up 7.8 percent from the year before, even as consumption growth slowed 1.81 percent year-on-year.
The growth rate has largely slowed down compared with the double-digit pace in the earlier years.
State Councilor Ma Kai said earlier that China's economic development is too fast for the country to realize its targeted energy consumption ceiling of 3 billion tons of coal equivalent by 2010.
(China Daily March 24, 2008)