Beijing Energy Club (BEC) had a very productive year in 2013, during which a total of 16 events, including 11 special-focus seminars, were organized. It was a record-setting year in terms of the quality and quantity of events since its inception five years ago; from Energy in the Arctic – environmental and geopolitical challenges at the beginning of the year to Recommending on China’s Natural Gas Development at the end of the year, every single event was carefully prepared for and well attended. In the Year of the Snake, BEC also made significant progress in working with local governments, launching of its official website and production of study reports. Its role as a think tank, a bridge, and a platform continued to be strengthened.
To follow is a summary report by BEC on its work in 2013:
I. Focusing on Hot Issues and Recommending on National Energy Development
1. Recommending on China’s Natural Gas Development
Natural gas is the most important and realistic lever for China to improve air quality and adjust energy structure. It is the bridging fuel with the potential to solve the intermittency of electricity generated using renewable resources and plays a critical role in energy security and the transition to a low carbon energy future. As part of China’s energy strategy action plan, the National Energy Administration (NEA) is in the process of elaborating plans to double domestic gas production by 2020. Additionally, the heavy task of remediation of severe air pollution is making it very urgent to accelerate development of the gas market. It seems that neither could happen without first properly addressing questions or issues like how to rapidly develop China’s natural gas market, how to significantly increase domestic production of both conventional and unconventional gas, how to make gas more competitive against coal in the end-use sector, and what the government should do in upstream access, pricing reform, market regulation, standards making, international co-operation and supply security.
On 21st December 2013, BEC held an expert seminar, “Recommending on China’s Natural Gas Development”, which had the participation of a dozen seasoned experts from the industry and the academia. Joining them were 60 experts or executives, including Mr. Zhang Guobao – Chair of the Honorary Board of BEC, Mr. Zhou Dadi – Vice Chair of the Honorary Board of BEC, Amb. Wu Jianmin – Vice Chairman of China Institute for Innovation and Development Strategy (CIIDS), Mr. Xu Dingming – Adviser to the State Council and former Director of NEA, the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), Dr. Zhang Yuzhuo – General Manager of Shenhua Group, Ms. Li Yalan – General Manager of Beijing Gas Group, and other attendees from NDRC, NEA, the Ministry of Land and Resources (MLR), the Ministry of Environmental Protection (MEP), CNPC, Sinopec, CNOOC, China Huadian Group, and other companies or organizations.
2. Energy Dimension and Solutions to the Chinese Air Pollution
The increasing occurrence of smog and haze caused by escalating air pollution in recent years is a warning sign for environmental remediation in China. To quantify the smog and haze attributable to combustion of coal and oil, understand what measures the energy sector, the major source of air pollutants, should take to clean the air, and develop a doable plan pertinent to the practical situations in China, BEC hosted an event titled Energy Dimension and Solutions to the Chinese Air Pollution on 2nd March 2013.
Dr. Wang Yuesi, Researcher at the Institute of Atmospheric Physics, Chinese Academy of Sciences (IAP/CAS) and Head of CAS Programme “Tracing the Source of Haze in the Atmosphere”, presented on the subject of “PM2.5 and Haze Pollution and Control” . 30 experts and professionals from NDRC, MEP, the Ministry of Finance (MOF), NEA, the Office of the Central Leading Group on Financial and Economic Affairs (OCLGFEA), the Development Research Center (DRC) of the State Council, CAS, Shenhua, CNPC, Sinopec, China Automotive Technology & Research Center (CATARC), Sino-Europe United Investment Fund (SEUIF) and other companies or organizations attended the meeting.
3. Nuclear Resumption: How to Ensure Safe and Efficient Development?
The world’s nuclear generation industry suffered a heavy blow from the Fukushima Daiichi accident in March 2011. The reaction, though, was mixed. Germany was among the earliest to turn its back on nuclear power, but France, Russia, the U.K., and the U.S. were firm on the policy of nuclear power development. The Chinese government, after one and half year review, decided to resume approval and construction of nuclear power plants.
On 26th September 2013 Mr. Hervé Machenaud, Senior Executive Vice President of EDF Group, presented on Nuclear Resumption: How to Ensure Safe and Efficient Development? at an event hosted by BEC. Questions discussed include how to ensure safe and efficient development of nuclear power, what are the trends and options of nuclear technology development, who should be held directly accountable for nuclear safety, how to take an organizational approach to ensure nuclear safety, and how should China continuously perfect nuclear safety guarantee mechanism by learning from its own and other countries’ lessons and experiences.
Participating in the discussions were 60 experts or executives, including Mr. Zhang Guobao – Chair of the Honorary Board of BEC, Ambassador Wu Jianmin – Vice Chairman of CIIDS, Mr. Wu Yin – former Deputy Director of NEA, and others from NDRC, NEA, DRC, MEP Nuclear and Radiation Safety Center (NRSC), China Energy Research Society (CERS), State Grid, China Southern Grid (CSG), China General Nuclear Power Corporation (CGNPC), China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC), China Three Gorges Corporation (CTG), State Nuclear Power Technology Corporation (SNPTC), Chinese Nuclear Society, Tsinghua University, Delegation of the European Union to China, Imperial College, and other companies or organizations.
4. Review of Hot Energy Topics Around the World
On 1st April 2013, BEC had the pleasure of hosting discussions between David Sandalow, then Acting Deputy Secretary of the U.S. DOE, and Mr. Zhang Guobao – Chair of the Honorary Board of BEC, Amb. Wu Jianmin – Chair of Energy Forum Asia (EFA) and former President of China Foreign Affairs University (CFAU), Dr. Li Jinghai – Vice President of CAS, Mr. Zhou Dadi – Vice Chair of the Honorary Board of BEC and former Director of the Energy Research Institute (ERI), NDRC, and 20 other experts and professionals from NDRC, NEA, energy companies and research organizations.
It was the 3rd time that David addressed BEC during his DOE term of office. He joined the others in a panoramic review of hot energy topics around the world, ranging from latest developments in shale oil and gas in the U.S. and China, development of electric cars in the U.S. which David had been promoting, Venezuela in the post-Chávez era, state of affairs in Iran and the Middle East, Russia’s energy development, Arctic oil and gas development, energy development in East Africa, global energy governance and the role of China, and new focuses in China-U.S. energy cooperation.
5. Clean and Efficient Ways for the Conversion of Chinese Coal
Coal will continue to dominate the primary energy mix in the foreseeable future in China, which is known to be more abundant in coal than in oil. Hence, finding clean and efficient ways to utilize the country’s coal resources is a major task in its energy sector and will mean a lot to its energy security and air pollution mediation. Chemical processing of coal is an important way of making use of coal; developing coal-based alternative fuels and chemicals using abundant indigenous resources is aligned with China’s strategic interests.
However, such an approach also has its cons – potential or existing environmental pollution, water consumption and wastewater treatment, and carbon emissions. Should or should not China develop the emerging industry of chemical processing of coal? How to realize scientific development of this industry? How to perfect regulation and industrial policies? How should the industry cope with market and policy risks?
These issues were discussed at a seminar on 20th July 2013 among 30 renowned scholars and experts invited by BEC, who had performed longtime researches and studies on chemical processing of coal. They listened to an opening address by Mr. Zhang Guobao, Chair of the Honorary Board of BEC, then to a keynote speech, Clean and Efficient Ways for the Conversion of Chinese Coal, by Dr. Zhang Yuzhuo, Academician of Chinese Academy of Engineering (CAE) and CEO of China Shenhua Group. Joining the discussions were Mr. Wu Yin – former Deputy Director of NEA, Mr. Zhou Dadi – Vice Chairman of CERS and others from NDRC, NEA, MEP, OCLGFEA, ERI, CAS, Tsinghua University, Sinopec, CNPC, Yitai Group, Synfuels China, and other companies or organizations.
6. Water Constraints of China’s Energy Development
Large quantities of freshwater are consumed in many processes in energy production, conversion, and utilization. In China, which generally is scarce in water resources, water has become a major constraint on sustainable development of its economy and society and is increasingly curbing its energy development. How should the relationship between energy and water be systematically quantified? How could the relationship between energy development and water use be harmonized? What are the technical means to and policy options for water saving in the energy sector? How could China save water and reduce water pollution through technical and policy means?
To address these, BEC held a discussion seminar on “Water Constraints of China’s Energy Development” on 8th September 2013, hosted by Shenhua Group, China’s biggest producer of coal and coal-based clean energy products at its National Institute of Clean and Low-Carbon Energy located in Changping, Beijing. BP Chief Scientist Dr. Ellen Williams delivered a keynote presentation on “Water Dimension of Energy Activities”.
Mr. Han Jianguo, Deputy GM of Shenhua Group made an opening address at the seminar. Joining the discussions were Mr. Zhang Guobao – Chair of the Honorary Board of BEC, Mr. Wu Yin – former Deputy Director of NEA, and 60 experts and professionals from DRC, the Research Office of the State Council, NDRC, MEP, MOF, NEA, CAS, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS), CNPC, Sinopec, CNOOC, Huaneng, Huadian, and other companies or organizations.
II. Standing at the Forefront – Changes in the World Energy Order
7. Energy in the Arctic – Environmental and Geopolitical Challenges
There is a huge potential in the future for the abundant oil and gas resources in the Arctic to be developed. Although the first Arctic offshore oil was drilled by Shell in the Alaskan Arctic, it was 2010 that saw a quickly increasing interest in energy development in this region. Energy in the High North, however, could not be developed without first tackling many difficulties, issues, and uncertainties, such as environmental and safety risks, high costs, and geopolitics. How would energy in the Arctic impact the global landscape of oil and gas? What implications would the opening of the Northern Passage have on global geopolitics? Under what framework should China look at the opportunities and challenges for Arctic development?
On 11th January 2013 BEC had the pleasure of hosting a presentation by Mr. Leiv Lunde, Director of Fridtjof Nansen Institute on Energy in the Arctic – Environmental and Geopolitical Challenges. Joining him were 40 professionals from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA), NDRC, NEA, MLR, CNPC, CNOOC, Sinopec, and other companies or organizations.
8. Lost in Green: Can Exogenous Technology Advances Save Clean Energy Future?
Global clean energy development seems to be in predicament and there are a variety of causes behind this. What are hindering global clean energy development? What is the medium- to long-term future for clean energy? What implications would increasing international trade disputes and technology advances in non-energy sectors have on the energy sector?
On 17th June 2013, BEC held a dinner session called “Lost in Green: Can Exogenous Technology Advances Save Clean Energy Future?”, with a keynote speech delivered by Mr. Michael Liebreich, CEO of Bloomberg New Energy Finance Co Ltd. Joining him were 20 experts and professionals, including Mr. Zhang Guobao – Chair of the Honorary Board of BEC, Mr. Zhou Dadi – Vice Chair of the Honorary Board of BEC and other participants from NDRC, DRC, OCLGFEA, Sinopec, CNOOC, ENN Group (ENN), BP, Saudi Aramco, Schlumberger and other companies or organizations.
III. Enhancing Exchanges – Promoting Sino-foreign Energy Cooperation
9. Energy Policies in Europe – Quo Vadis?
Europe and China share many resemblances in terms of the energy market and a series of common challenges that they have to confront in energy policy making. While almost everyone in China is watching closely the energy development in the U.S., few of us seem to know much about European energy policies. What are the elements of European energy policies? Does or does not Europe have an integrated energy policy? How are EU’s energy directives implemented in member states? What could China learn from Europe in terms of energy policy making?
On 14th May 2013 BEC hosted a seminar where Dr. Noe van Hulst, Director of Energy Academy Europe, former Secretary General of International Energy Forum (IEF) (2008-2012), former Director for Long-Term Cooperation and Policy Analysis of the International Energy Agency (IEA) (2003-2007), and former Director General, Energy of the Netherlands Ministry of Economic Affairs (1999-2003) presented on “Energy Policies in Europe: Quo Vadis?”. In-depth discussions were held with Chinese experts and professionals on the status of energy in Europe, evolution of European energy policies, challenges confronting EU’s energy policies, relationship between EU and member states in terms of energy policies and strategies, and hot issues in global energy.
Joining the discussions were 30 experts and professionals, including Mr. Zhang Guobao – Chair of the Honorary Board of BEC and others from NDRC, DRC, CAS, CASS, CNPC, Sinopec, CNOOC, ENN, European Union Chamber of Commerce in China (EUCCC), BP, Saudi Aramco, EDF and other companies or organizations.
10. New Areas for China-U.S. Energy Cooperation –
As the two largest energy consumers in the world, China and the U.S. have many new areas to explore in energy cooperation. Given the current global political and economic landscape and in the context of building mutually agreed new-type relations between major powers, however, China and the U.S. not only have a basis for extensive mutual interests, but face many issues and inconsistencies in the field of energy cooperation. What are the new areas where China and the U.S. could pursue in energy cooperation? In what areas can China and the U.S. achieve practical and win-win cooperation?
On 3rd July 2013, BEC hosted a dinner discussion where Mr. Jason Bordoff, Director of the Center on Global Energy Policy of Columbia University, formerly Special Assistant to the President in his first term and Senior Director for Energy and Climate Change on the Staff of the National Security Council, discussed on new areas in China-U.S. energy cooperation with 10 selected experts from the Beijing Energy Club.
11. Global Energy Challenges and US-China Energy Cooperation
On 29th October 2013, BEC had the honor of hosting a dinner seminar for Dr. Ernest Moniz, the newly sworn-in Secretary of the U.S. Department of Energy, during his first official visit to China. Joining him were Mr. Zhang Guobao – Chair of the Honorary Board of BEC, Amb. Fu Ying – Chair of the National People’s Congress’s Foreign Affairs Committee, Amb. Wu Jianmin – Vice Chairman of CIIDS, and 20 top-level officials or executives from NDRC, MOF, MFA, NEA, Tsinghua University, China University of Petroleum, Xiamen University, CNPC, ENN, and Dalian Bolong New Materials.
In 2013, BEC also hosted a dinner for Her Excellency Anna-Karin Hatt, Minister for Energy and Information Technology of Sweden, who discussed energy and sustainability issues with experts and professionals of the BEC.
Ambassador Urban Rusnák, Secretary General of the Energy Charter Secretariat, addressed BEC on the role of the Charter in global energy governance.
The BEC also held discussions with US scholars from Brookings Institute and Columbia University on the political economy of shale gas.
Lord Browne of Madingley, Vice Chair of the Honorary Board of BEC, introduced his new book Seven Elements That Have Changed The World at BEC.
All these exchanges enabled BEC experts and professionals to have a better understanding of global hot issues and helped BEC to set a footing in the international energy community.
2013 was also a year of breakthrough in the history of BEC in the following ways:
We worked for the first time since BEC’s inception with a local government, Zhejiang Provincial Government, to be exact, on organizing a conference called “Global Green Energy Trends & Options for Local Governments in China” in Zhejiang Province on 22nd June 2013. It was a significant event that focused on issues of local concern and was welcomed by local governments and businesses.
At the request of the Industrial Department of the NDRC, the BEC organized and prepared an independent research report on the subject of “Potential Role of Algae in Ensuring China’s Food and Oil Security, Mitigating Desertification and Combating Air Pollution”.
Our website (http://beijingenergyclub.org/) was officially launched on 20th July. It provides a medium and platform for exchanges, communications, and further development.
On 21st December BEC held an evening party to celebrate its first five years of work. Under the theme of Standing at the Forefront and Recommending on Development , the party was attended by over 150 people. The Collection of Reports During the First Five Years was distributed.