Zero-Carbon Electrification and a Sustainable Future for China

Zero-Carbon Electrification and a Sustainable Future for China

ETC and RMI Jointly Release Report Recommending Key Stimulus Programs for China to Achieve Green Recovery

BEIJING, June 17, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- Energy Transition Commission (ETC) and Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI) today jointly released the report Achieving Green Recovery for China: Putting Zero-Carbon Electrification at the Core. The report recommends key stimulus programs for China's recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic and economic downturn. It also proposes that zero-carbon electrification should be at the center of China's investment strategy to realize economic growth and a sustainable future.

This joint ETC/RMI report proposes programs for sustainable recovery in China which reflect the specific characteristics of the Chinese economy and policies already in place. The report outlines four key programs with zero-carbon electrification at the core:

  • Accelerate investment in zero-carbon electrification. China should combine increased investment in wind and solar, ultra-high voltage transmission lines, energy storage, and distribution grids, plus the accelerated rollout of vehicle charging infrastructure.
  • Strengthen investment in "new" technology based forms of infrastructure, such as 5G, artificial intelligence, internet of things, data centers and optical fibre, which will build Chinese capacity in a range of vital future technologies.
  • Ensure that investment in traditional infrastructure supports green and energy efficient urbanization. 
  • Promote green consumption, including via support for electric vehicles and more efficient electric heating systems.

In China's government work program announced in May 2020, the need to invest in new infrastructure, to support new forms of higher quality urban development, and to accelerate the shift to new energy vehicles were identified as priorities. This report argues that zero-carbon electrification should also be a priority, alongside those three, and proposes that the acceleration of zero-carbon electrification is as strategically important as high-speed rail and 5G. 

The decarbonization of electricity generation is essential to make the other pillars of the recovery program green. New IT infrastructure in 5G and data centers, expanded high-speed rail networks, rail and subway systems to support new forms of urbanization, and the scaling up of electric vehicles will generate significant electricity demand. It is important to ensure that growing electricity demand is delivered in a green and zero-carbon way, through increasing percentage of variable renewable supply and supportive infrastructure investment to ensure a secure and reliable power system.

To download the report, please visit

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