China energy

By Benjamin Sporton, World Coal Association

Over recent weeks, World Bank climate change envoy Rachel Kyte has made a number of comments claiming that coal is not part of the solution to energy poverty. Pointing to investments being made globally in renewable energy, Kyte argues that coal is a fuel of the past, which we all need to be “weaned” off.

But her comments do not match up with the numbers. The International Energy Agency (IEA) forecasts coal use in electricity generation to grow 33 per cent by 2040. Demand for coal in Southeast Asia alone is expected to increase 4.8 per cent a year through to 2035. Read more

By Li Hejun, China New Energy Chamber of Commerce and Hanergy Holding Group

Almost 200 governments met in Peru this month to hammer out a first draft of a global deal to cut emissions, ahead of a new round of climate talks next year in Paris. If the world is to arrest climate change, global economies need to embrace renewable energy. Those looking for a model of how this might be done should consider a possibly surprising source: China.

It has been little noticed by the outside world, but in China a technological revolution that will result in huge gains in efficiency and new applications for renewable energy has already begun. Read more

By Joseph Dobbs, European Leadership Network

Russian aggression towards Ukraine this past year has seen Vladimir Putin, the Russian president, lambasted by Western leaders. China has desisted from such criticism and instead signed two major gas deals worth hundreds of billions of dollars, co-operated in establishing a new development bank, and conducted joint military exercises. For some, Russia and China’s co-operation demonstrates their potential to challenge the global order. But in reality Russia’s pivot east faces too many hurdles to represent a viable alternative to working with the West.

Russia and China have much in common. Both states are increasingly nationalistic and share a common perceived threat of Western containment. In Russia’s case this threat comes primarily from the potential expansion of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (Nato). China’s perception of US containment strategies derives mainly from the American military presence in East Asia. Leaders in Moscow and Beijing have both watched with unease as the West supported the Arab Spring and the so-called “colour revolutions” that rocked the likes of Georgia, Ukraine and Kyrgyzstan. Read more

By Melissa Stark, Accenture

A lot has been written about the shale gas and oil boom in the US and why that model cannot be replicated in other countries with plentiful potential resources. In fact, this does not have to be the case.

We have done extensive analysis on the potential for shale development outside of the US, from Western to Eastern Europe, across Asia Pacific, Latin America and even South Africa. The biggest advantage that countries like Argentina, Saudi Arabia and China have over the others is a strong, government-backed national oil company (NOC). Read more

By Rajeev Mantri, Navam Capital

Energy and clean technology investing has proven to be disastrous for venture capitalists. Capital allocated to clean tech fell to less than half in 2013 from the $3.7 billion invested in 2012, and new clean tech-focused funds were able to raise less than $1 billion last year, compared to $4.5 billion raised in 2012.

High-profile flameouts like Solyndra, A123 Systems, Konarka, Miasole, Better Place and Fisker Automotive have, appropriately enough, made investors very wary. Billions of dollars of equity has evaporated. Successes, such as Tesla Motors and Nest Labs, have been extremely rare. Read more

Xi Jinping of China and Nursultan Nazarbayev of Kazakhstan in Astana, Sept 7, 2013.

By Usen Suleimen of the Kazakh foreign ministry and Xiaojiang Yu of Hong Kong Baptist University

The visit of Xi Jinping, China’s president, to Kazakhstan last weekend and the signing of $30bn of new agreements is another symbol of the growing closeness between two of the world’s largest countries. It is a relationship built on mutual challenges, geographic proximity and energy, as China increasingly looks to central Asia to power its growing economy.

But these links have also raised alarm bells in the west. Read more

Monday marks a new stage in the supply – and politics – of China’s energy, as a pipline through Myanmar has started operations. Read more

The fact that the axis of world energy consumption is moving east isn’t exactly new – but the International Energy Agency is finally responding to the inevitable.

As the FT reported on Thursday, the agency is seeking an association with emerging economies, including the four Bric states. So beyondbrics has put together a couple of charts that show the change in energy consumption – and where it could go in the next two decades. Read more

China’s state-owned enterprises this week got a new boss. Former oil chief Jiang Jiemin (pictured), who was president and later chairman of CNPC for the past seven years, will be the new head of the State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission (or Sasac for short).

Jiang’s change of sides, from oil chief to top regulator, follows a long line of top oil bosses who have gone on to prominent political roles. With reform of state-owned enterprises being one a top task facing the new government, the chairmanship of Sasac should be an important – and very political – position. Read more

China’s statistics are notoriously unreliable, and oil demand is no exception.

In its Oil Market Report for February, the International Energy Agency admits that measuring it is more of an art than a science, and has announced a new methodology. While this may sound a little on the wonkish side, there is an important point: China counts for around 10 per cent of the world’s oil consumption and 40 per cent of global oil demand growth. Getting this bit right (or less wrong) is crucial. Read more

Who's going to burn that?

Thermal coal is not having a good month. With eurozone concerns and slowing growth in China already dragging on commodities prices globally, coal inventories in China – the world’s biggest consumer – are near record highs. Last week, thermal coal prices hit a two-year low in Newcastle, the Australian port.

A few days ago, a US utility company took the very unusual step of declaring force majeur on coal contracts because its coal piles were full – a sign of slack demand.

Add to all this gloomy news one more item: more analysts are joining the camp that believes China might not be a long-term structural importer of thermal coal. This could mark a very important shift. Read more

The trouble with being the world’s biggest energy user and sprawling across 9m square kilometers is that it is often hard to get the power where you need it.

In China, the trials and travails of the national electrical grid usually go unnoticed. The utility companies that produce China’s power and run the grid include some of the biggest companies in the world by asset size but they often fall below the radar screen since they are state-owned and primarily domestic. Read more

Central Asia is mainly known for its abundant hydrocarbon reserves – but some countries in the region are already turning their attention to wind resources to produce cleaner, renewable energy.

Mongolia has set an ambitious goal to become central Asia’s renewable energy champion even as foreign investors compete for access to its huge coal mines. Strong winds gusting across the empty steppe could eventually be harnessed to produce about one quarter of the country’s energy needs. Read more