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- Xizhou Zhou
Much attention on China’s decarbonization efforts has been on the rapidly expanding renewable power fleet as well as the role of coal-fired power, yet half China’s coal consumption is not in the power sector. Industrial and commercial sectors continue to consume large volumes of coal, oil products, and natural gas. What technology and policies options are available to address emissions from non-power sources in China? What’s unique in the Chinese contexts with regard to technology development and adoption? In what ways can international collaboration in technologies such as carbon capture and hydrogen help reduce emissions in China and beyond?
With oil, gas, and coal markets in upheaval, power markets around the world are feeling the impact. Despite the rapid deployment of renewables the past decade, fossil fuel generation continues to account for 60% of global power. How will the electric power sector in Europe, North America, and Asia respond to extreme volatilities in fuel markets? Will there be an acceleration of renewable investment, particularly in Europe? How will governments balance between meeting immediate fuel needs and long-term energy transition objectives?
Renewable power purchasing agreements signed by global corporations are accounting for a rising share of renewable additions in key power markets as companies take action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions associated with production and operation. Corporate buyers are becoming important new players in the electric sector worldwide as they increase spending and investment in renewable energy. How will corporate procurement evolve in the future? What are some of the obstacles for growth? Will corporate buyers be able to expand procurement from early success regions, such as North America and Europe, to other parts of the world? How are procurement strategies changing as markets and policies evolve?
Momentum is building for nuclear power, as urgency to curb climate change intensifies and many countries commit to decarbonize faster and deeper. Nuclear power scaled up quickly in its early decades. Nuclear power’s share in global power generation grew from 2% in 1970 to 17% in 1990. But nuclear power’s share has since declined to about 10% today. What will it take for nuclear power to step up in a low-carbon world? What are effective policies to preserve the existing fleet and build new plants? Can advanced technologies overcome stubborn obstacles? Which countries and technologies are leading the nuclear revival?
Electricity remains the fastest growing form of final energy in the world and is getting a further boost from accelerated electrification that many consider critical for decarbonization. Investment along the electric power value chain is expected to rise sharply, focusing on areas such as integrating more carbon-free resources into the grid, expanding the required infrastructure to accommodate a low-carbon system, and bringing more customers and end-uses into the power system. Where do the biggest opportunities lie for incumbents and new players alike? How will a shift in power market structure and regulations impact company strategies? Are there preferred technology options in a net-zero world? How do developers and utilities perceive risk as decarbonization continues?