New era in clean energy on horizon

Updated 2018-03-30 11:42:09

Shell CEO says well-considered policies are key to progress

China is playing an increasingly important role in the global energy landscape and the country's impressive progress toward cleaner energy is hard to miss, said Ben van Beurden, CEO of Royal Dutch Shell Plc.

"The Chinese government's move toward establishing a national carbon-pricing mechanism is yet another sign the country is making progress toward a new era of cleaner energy," he said.

"With well-considered policies that take on lessons learned by others, China can find a successful route."

He made the speech during the launch of a report on China's energy revolution in the context of the global energy transition on March 23, which was jointly conducted by Shell and the Development Research Centre of the State Council.

According to the report, China produces 40 percent of all the wind turbines in the world, while making three-quarters of the world's solar panels. Nearly half of the electric vehicles on the planet today are owned by Chinese drivers.

The share of coal in primary energy consumption has fallen for four years running and is on track to drop from 64 percent in 2015 to less than 58 percent by 2020, it said.

The role of renewables in the system is also gaining ground fast, with the amount of wind energy on track to double between 2015 and 2020 and the amount of solar to more than quadruple in the same time period, it said.

The report also looks at ways to deepen the reform of the oil and gas landscape to encourage investment and development, including reforms to the mining rights system, the natural gas pipeline network, pricing and industry regulation.

It recommends establishing new regulatory authorities and suggests an enhanced system of energy laws to back this up and make the most of the plans for a national carbon market.

According to Beurden, the successful establishment of a unified and dynamic carbon market requires many of the changes suggested elsewhere for the country's energy system.

"Without market-based electricity pricing, for example, the power sector cannot be properly incentivized to make low-carbon investment decisions and market forces cannot do their work of keeping prices as low as possible," he said.

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