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Antinomic policy-making under the fragmented authoritarianism: Regulating China’s electricity sector through the energy-climate-environment dimension

Zhang, Hao
Energy policy 2019 v.128 pp. 162-169
climate, electric power, energy, energy policy, environmental protection, governance, prices, China
This article examines China's Electric Power Law and the recent policies governing China's electricity sector from the energy-climate-environment dimension. Using the fragmented authoritarianism framework, it captures the legal system that is still rooted in the pre-reform era, and the antinomic policy making that is driven by the policy imperative to accommodate the shifting pattern of energy supply, the growing awareness over climate mitigation and environmental protection. By examining the most recent policy imperatives on regulating new investment and efficiency, and pricing deregulation, this article focuses on changes in the policy arena and their impacts on the regulatory governance of China's electricity sector. Using the methodology of qualitative study, this article critically investigates these policy changes that generate incompatible regulatory concerns. The incompatibility creates competing regulatory concerns over energy-climate-environment in the policy making process, and generates discord between China's central and provincial governments. Dealing with the challenges will depend on developing a legal framework for China's electricity sector. Findings of this article echoes with energy law scholars’ point of view that energy law has a much bigger role to play to balance different or competing policy agendas to deliver better energy policy that delivers the expected outcomes for society.