The Ultimate Guide To China's Voracious Energy Use

China coal

Photo: AP Images

China already accounts for 21 per cent of global energy use driven by its industrial economy and fast growing middle class.Despite the country’s heavy investment in renewable energy, the sheer abundance of coal makes it the biggest source of energy for the country.

But with per capita energy use still pretty low, China’s energy consumption is expected to grow. We drew on a Goldman Sachs report by Abby Joseph Cohen and Rachel Siu to create the ultimate guide to Chinese energy use and where it’s headed.

Much thanks to Cohen, Siu, and Goldman for permission run their charts.

China is the world's largest consumer of energy and accounts for 21 per cent of global energy use

Energy use in China has increased by more than 150 per cent in the last decade. Rapid industrialisation and growth of the middle class has driven the growth in energy use

But per capita energy consumption is actually pretty low and this shows how inefficient energy use is

A comparison of the Chinese economy and other economies with similar GDP composition shows how inefficient its energy use is

China's industrial sector accounts for nearly 50 per cent of GDP and accounts for nearly 70 per cent of energy use

Coal accounts for 70 per cent of China's energy, and oil the second largest only accounts for 18 per cent

Chinese coal consumption has increased by 200 per cent in the past decade. The country has more than doubled its own production of coal in the last 10 years

China imports nearly 50 per cent of its crude oil which will have major implications on its energy security and foreign policy. The majority of its imports come from the Middle East but Angola is also becoming a major source of crude oil

Natural gas is a small part of its energy mix but China became a net importer of natural gas in 2007. Shale gas development is in the early stages but offers enormous potential

The Chinese government has been investing heavily in renewable energy as its tries to lower its dependence on coal. China has built the world's largest renewable capacity in the world with 133 Gigawatts installed in 2011. compared with 93GW in the U.S.

The range of electricity prices across energy sources is vastly different, with solar power being the most expensive

Since China's middle class is continuing to grow, and since per capita energy use is still pretty low, Chinese energy use is projected to continue to grow. China is expected to account for 25 per cent of global energy consumption by 2035

And the need for energy resources has often led to war...

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