Renewable energy, smart grids, cloud computing – these are all growing industries that, combined with a new global momentum for low carbon development, are changing the power sector and leading to a new wave of reform around the globe.
China – the world’s largest power generator and second largest consumer of electricity – is no exception. In March, the National Development and Reform Commission published Document #9, which provided details on this round of reforms, which are taking place at a time when China has made a commitment to peak its carbon emissions by 2030, and increase the proportion of non-fossil fuels in the energy mix to 20% by 2020.
Against this backdrop, the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) held its inaugural power sector reform roundtable in Beijing, bringing together grid, renewable energy, IT, government and non-profit stakeholders to discuss this new phase of reform. A central theme that ran throughout the day’s discussions was how this round of power sector reform can contribute to combating climate change – by creating more flexibility for integrating renewable energy into the grid, and increasing efficiency of the system overall.
The Paulson Institute’s Elle Carberry, a managing director in the Beijing office, moderated a panel discussion focused on international experience and lessons for China, particularly related to how collaborative processes can increase the success of power sector reforms. At the event, the Institute also launched a set of four policy papers – including two about power sector reform and demand response – all of which explore how market forces can contribute to fighting air pollution and climate change.