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Technology options: Can Chinese power industry reach the CO2 emission peak before 2030?

Tao, Yuan, Wen, Zongguo, Xu, Lina, Zhang, Xuan, Tan, Qilu, Li, Huifang, Evans, Steve
Resources, conservation, and recycling 2019 v.147 pp. 85-94
carbon, carbon dioxide, climate change, coal, electric power industry, energy efficiency, greenhouse gas emissions, gross domestic product, hydroelectric power, issues and policy, models, nuclear power, power plants, China
From the start of China’s G20 presidency, China positions itself as a world leader in fighting climate change and emphasizes the wish to ‘break a new path for growth’. China aims to peak carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by 2030 and cut its greenhouse gas emissions per unit of gross domestic product by 60–65% from 2005 levels by 2030. The pledge is eagerly awaited as China aims to develop a low carbon economy through switching to alternatives to fossil fuels and being technologically energy-efficient. The power industry is the most important industrial sector while the biggest bottleneck for CO2 emission control in China. This paper develops a technologies-based bottom-up CO2 mitigation model to assess emission reduction potential of different technologies in the thermal power industry up to 2030. Using 2010 as the reference year, two macro-economic scenarios and four technological scenarios have been set to describe future policy measures for the period of 2015–2030. CO2 emission trends, reduction potentials and cost curves are demonstrated under different scenarios. The results show that the electric power industry can reach its CO2 emission peak by 2030 in the middle policy control scenario under macro-economic slow growth. Emissions would peak at 4.6 billion tonnes CO2-eq for the least cost scenario, which is 1.78 billion tones CO2-eq less than peak the BAU scenario in 2030. This is equivalent to the total CO2 emissions from 300 MW to 1000 MW coal-fired power plants with 5000 h in 30 provinces and municipalities of China in 2013. This research shows that the top four negative cost-beneficial technology options, 630℃ or 700℃ USC, small hydroelectricity, and nuclear power pressurized water reactor II and III, are the most preferable to be promoted to meet the CO2 emissions peak target in 2020 and 2030.