Productivity of China Coal-Fired Power Sector

A sound understanding of the world’s largest power sector will help improve the calibration of global future energy demand and greenhouse gas emissions. This project aims to examine the economic and environmental performance of the sector using detailed plant-level data over two decades.

China is making a green refurbishment of its economy. Keystones in China’s greening process include: a structural shift to high-end manufacturing, services, and research and development; a transition to renewable energy technologies, especially wind and solar; and a large-scale retrofitting of its conventional energy sector. Perhaps nowhere is this conservation and transition effort greater than in the electricity sector. China has introduced a number of command and control, and market based policy instruments to clean up its conventional energy supply.

Given the scale of this sector and its coal-dependent nature, a better understanding of its productivity is of great significance to regional and global policy making to address carbon emissions. It is of particular importance to Australia which dominates global coal export and also has a highly coal-dependent power industry.

Using unique plant-level as well as provincial level data, the project aims to:

• Examine economic productivity of the sector
• Estimate joint economic and environmental performance of the sector
• Investigate the impacts of major reforms on coal-fired generation
• Quantify marginal costs of environmental protection


  • China Electricity Council and North China Electric Power University