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A transition perspective on alternatives to coal in Chinese district heating

Zhang, Jingjing LU and Di Lucia, Lorenzo LU (2015) In International Journal of Sustainable Energy Planning and Management 6. p.49-68
Abstract

China uses half the world’s annual coal consumption, since coal is the primary energy source for heating in urban areas, particularly in northern China. This entails significant challenges for urban air quality in China and for the global climate. Unlike the electricity and transportation sectors, the heating sector has received little attention from policy and research actors in China, despite very high penetration of urban district heating (DH) systems, which supply more than 80% of northern China’s urban buildings. DH systems can facilitate efficiency improvements and the use of renewable energy sources. This study explores the dynamics and possibility to expand alternative energy sources (natural gas, biomass, direct geothermal... (More)

China uses half the world’s annual coal consumption, since coal is the primary energy source for heating in urban areas, particularly in northern China. This entails significant challenges for urban air quality in China and for the global climate. Unlike the electricity and transportation sectors, the heating sector has received little attention from policy and research actors in China, despite very high penetration of urban district heating (DH) systems, which supply more than 80% of northern China’s urban buildings. DH systems can facilitate efficiency improvements and the use of renewable energy sources. This study explores the dynamics and possibility to expand alternative energy sources (natural gas, biomass, direct geothermal heat, ground-source heat pump, municipal waste heat, industrial waste heat) for DH in China. We apply an analytical framework largely based on the multi-level perspective on socio-technical transitions, in which transitions are interpreted as the result of interactions between niche, regime and landscape elements. The study provides an integrated picture of the socio-technical structure and functioning of DH in China. The results show that an energy transition in Chinese DH systems has barely started. The system is characterised by stability of the coal-based DH regime, while a number of alternative niches are struggling to emerge. Among these, natural gas is the most successful example. However, at local level different niches present opportunities in terms of physical availability, economic viability and capacity to address landscape pressure. The introduction of an appropriate sustainable heat roadmap and policy framework at national level could promote and facilitate this energy transition.

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author
organization
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
published
subject
keywords
China, District heating, Renewable energy, Transition
in
International Journal of Sustainable Energy Planning and Management
volume
6
pages
20 pages
publisher
Aalborg University Press
external identifiers
  • scopus:84994314500
DOI
10.5278/ijsepm.2015.6.5
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
0460a659-eac3-4349-89ad-8e82f7288f16
date added to LUP
2017-02-16 13:17:14
date last changed
2017-02-16 13:17:14
@article{0460a659-eac3-4349-89ad-8e82f7288f16,
  abstract     = {<p>China uses half the world’s annual coal consumption, since coal is the primary energy source for heating in urban areas, particularly in northern China. This entails significant challenges for urban air quality in China and for the global climate. Unlike the electricity and transportation sectors, the heating sector has received little attention from policy and research actors in China, despite very high penetration of urban district heating (DH) systems, which supply more than 80% of northern China’s urban buildings. DH systems can facilitate efficiency improvements and the use of renewable energy sources. This study explores the dynamics and possibility to expand alternative energy sources (natural gas, biomass, direct geothermal heat, ground-source heat pump, municipal waste heat, industrial waste heat) for DH in China. We apply an analytical framework largely based on the multi-level perspective on socio-technical transitions, in which transitions are interpreted as the result of interactions between niche, regime and landscape elements. The study provides an integrated picture of the socio-technical structure and functioning of DH in China. The results show that an energy transition in Chinese DH systems has barely started. The system is characterised by stability of the coal-based DH regime, while a number of alternative niches are struggling to emerge. Among these, natural gas is the most successful example. However, at local level different niches present opportunities in terms of physical availability, economic viability and capacity to address landscape pressure. The introduction of an appropriate sustainable heat roadmap and policy framework at national level could promote and facilitate this energy transition.</p>},
  author       = {Zhang, Jingjing and Di Lucia, Lorenzo},
  keyword      = {China,District heating,Renewable energy,Transition},
  language     = {eng},
  pages        = {49--68},
  publisher    = {Aalborg University Press},
  series       = {International Journal of Sustainable Energy Planning and Management},
  title        = {A transition perspective on alternatives to coal in Chinese district heating},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.5278/ijsepm.2015.6.5},
  volume       = {6},
  year         = {2015},
}