China is among the largest emitters of carbon dioxide (CO2), worldwide Thus, its emissions mitigation is of global concern. The power generation sector is responsible for nearly half of China’s total CO2 emissions and plays a key role in emissions mitigation. This study is an integrated evaluation of abatement technologies, including both low-carbon power generation technologies and retrofitting options for coal power plants. We draw marginal abatement cost curves for these technologies using the conservation supply curve method. Using scenario analysis for the years 2015 to 2030, we discuss the potential performance of abatement technologies. Marginal costs for the analyzed abatement technologies range from RMB − 357.41/ton CO2 to RMB 927.95/ton CO2. Furthermore, their cumulative mitigation potential relative to the baseline scenario could reach 35 billion tons of CO2 in 2015–2030, with low-carbon power generation technologies and coal power abatement technologies contributing 55% and 45% of the total mitigation, respectively. Our case study of China demonstrates the power generation sector’s great potential to mitigate global emissions, and we suggest nuclear power, hydropower, and the comprehensive retrofitting of coal power as key technology options for the low-carbon transition of the energy system and long-term emissions mitigation strategies.
This is a preview of subscription content,to check access.
Access this article
Bee’r JM (2000) Combustion technology developments in power generation in response to environmental challenges. Prog Energy Combust Sci 26(4–6):301–327
Brear MJ, Jeppesen M, Chattopadhyay D et al (2016) Least cost, utility scale abatement from Australia’s NEM (National Electricity Market). Part 2: Scenarios and policy implications. Energy 101:621–628
BP (2018) Statistical review of world energy 2018. https://www.bp.com/en/global/corporate/energy-economics/statistical-review-of-world-energy.html. Accessed 20 Sept 2018
Chen LJ, Zhu L, Fan Y (2013) Long-term impacts of carbon tax and feed-in tariff policies on China’s generating portfolio and carbon emissions: a multi-agent-based analysis. Energy & Environment 24(7):1270–1293
China Electricity Council (2018) Basic data list of power statistics. http://www.cec.org.cn/guihuayutongji/tongjxinxi/. Accessed 15 Mar 2018
China National Coal Association (1989) Regulations for management of equipment for coal industry enterprises. http://www.mkaq.org/Article/chaozuogc/201005/Article_23469.html. Accessed 18 Mar 2018
Du L, Hanley A, Zhang N (2016) Environmental technical efficiency, technology gap and shadow price of coal-fuelled power plants in China: a parametric meta-frontier analysis. Resour Energy Econ 43:14–32
Du Y, Song B, Duan H, Tsvetanov TG, Wu Y (2019) Multi-renewable management: Interactions between wind and solar within uncertain technology ecological system. Energy Conversion and Management 187:232-247
Duan HB, Fan Y, Zhu L (2013) What’s the most cost-effective policy of CO2 targeted reduction: an application of aggregated economic technological model with CCS? Appl Energy 112:866–875
Duan HB, Zhang G, Wang S et al (2018) Robust climate change research: a review on multi-model analysis. Environ Res Lett 14(3):033001
Duan HB, Zhang G, Wang S et al (2019) Integrated benefit-cost analysis of China’s optimal adaptation and targeted mitigation. Ecol Econ 160:76–86
Enkvist P, Nauclér T, Rosander J (2007) A cost curve for greenhouse gas reduction. McKinsey Quarterly 1:34. http://www.mckinsey.com/insights/sustainability/a_cost_curve_for_greenhouse_gas_reduction. Accessed 16 Feb 2018
Fleiter T, Fehrenbach D, Worrell E et al (2012) Energy efficiency in the German pulp and paper industry – a model-based assessment of saving potentials. Energy 40:84–99
Franco A, Diaz AR (2009) The future challenges for “clean coal technologies”: joining efficiency increase and pollutant emission control. Energy 34:348–354
Gnansounou E, Dong J, Bedniaguine D (2004) The strategic technology options for mitigating CO2 emissions in power sector: assessment of Shanghai electricity-generating system. Ecol Econ 50:117–133
Goh T, Ang BW (2018) Quantifying CO2 emission reductions from renewables and nuclear energy – some paradoxes. Energy Policy 113:651–662
Gregory CU (2002) Escaping carbon lock-in. Energy Policy 30:317–325
Hasanbeigi A, Menke C, Therdyothin A (2010) The use of conservation supply curves in energy policy and economic analysis: the case study of Thai cement industry. Energy Policy 38:392–405
IEA (2010) Projected costs of generating electricity (2010 Edition). https://www.iea.org/.
IEA (2015) Projected costs of generating electricity (2015 Edition). https://www.iea.org/.
IEA (2018) CO2 emissions from fuel combustion highlights 2018. https://www.iea.org/.
Jeppesen M, Brear MJ, Chattopadhyay D et al (2016) Least cost, utility scale abatement from Australia’s NEM (National Electricity Market). Part 1: Problem formulation and modelling. Energy 101:606–620
Jin T, Kim J (2018) What is better for mitigating carbon emissions – renewable energy or nuclear energy? A panel data analysis. Renew Sust Energ Rev 91:464–471
Lee CY, Zhou P (2015) Directional shadow price estimation of CO2, SO2 and NOx in the United States coal power industry 1990–2010. Energy Econ 51:493–502
Li A, Hu M, Sun C et al (2017) Optimal CO2 abatement pathway with induced technological progress for Chinese coal-fired power industry. Energy Sustain Dev 36:55–63
Li Y, Zhu L (2014) Cost of energy saving and CO2 emissions reduction in China’s iron and steel sector. Appl Energy 130:603–616
Liddle B, Sadorsky P (2017) How much does increasing non-fossil fuels in electricity generation reduce carbon dioxide emissions? Appl Energy 197:212–221
Lin B, Wu Y, Zhang L (2012) Electricity saving potential of the power generation industry in China. Energy 40:307–316
Lin B, Yang L (2013) The potential estimation and factor analysis of China’s energy conservation on thermal power industry. Energy Policy 62:354–362
Liu T, Xu G, Cai P et al (2011) Development forecast of renewable energy power generation in China and its influence on the GHG control strategy of the country. Renew Energy 36:1284–1292
National Bureau of Statistics (2018) Statistical Bulletin of the People’s Republic of China on National Economic and Social Development 2017. http://www.stats.gov.cn/tjsj/zxfb/201702/t20170228_1467424.html.
NDRC (2015) Notice of the National Development and Reform Commission on reducing the price of electricity for coal fired generation and the price of general industrial and commercial electricity. http://www.ndrc.gov.cn/zwfwzx/zfdj/jggg/201512/t20151230_769630.html.
NDRC (2017) Catalogue of national key energy saving and low carbon technology promotion (energy saving part of 2017). http://hzs.ndrc.gov.cn/newzwxx/201803/t20180302_885499.html.
NDRC NEA (2016) The 13th Five-Year Plan for Electric Power Development. http://www.ndrc.gov.cn/zcfb/zcfbghwb/201612/P020161222570036010274.pdf.
Oboirien BO, North BC, Obayopo SO et al (2018) Analysis of clean coal technology in Nigeria for energy generation. Energy Strateg Rev 20:64–70
Peng BB, Fan Y, Xu JH (2016) Integrated assessment of energy efficiency technologies and CO2 abatement cost curves in China’s road passenger car sector. Energy Convers Manag 109:195–212
Peng J, Yu BY, Liao H et al (2018) Marginal abatement costs of CO2 emissions in the thermal power sector: a regional empirical analysis from China. J Clean Prod 171:163–174
Pérez de Arce M, Sauma E, Contreras J (2016) Renewable energy policy performance in reducing CO 2 emissions. Energy Econ 54:272–280
Qi T, Zhang X, Karplus VJ (2014) The energy and CO2 emissions impact of renewable energy development in China. Energy Policy 68:60–69
Sands RD (2004) Dynamics of carbon abatement in the Second Generation Model. Econ 26:721–738
Sgouridis S, Carbajales-Dale M, Csala D, Chiesa M, Bardi U (2019) Comparative net energy analysis of renewable electricity and carbon capture and storage. Nat Energy 4:456–465
Siqueira DS, Meystre JA, Hilário et al (2019) Current perspectives on nuclear energy as a global climate change mitigation option. Mitig Adapt Strateg Glob Chang 24:749–777
Souza JFT, Pacca SA (2019) How far can low-carbon energy scenarios reach based on proven technologies? Mitig Adapt Strateg Glob Chang 24:687–705
Su S, Zhao J, Hu J (2015) Study on greenhouse gas emissions of China’s power industry from 1990 to 2050. Advances in Climate Change 11(05):353–362
Van den Bergh K, Delarue E (2015) Quantifying CO 2 abatement costs in the power sector. Energy Policy 80:88–97
Wang K, Wang S, Liu L et al (2016) Environmental co-benefits of energy efficiency improvement in coal-fired power sector: a case study of Henan Province, China. Appl Energy 184:810–819
Wei C, Löschel A, Liu B (2015) Energy-saving and emission-abatement potential of Chinese coal-fired power enterprise: a non-parametric analysis. Energy Econ 49:33–43
Woetzel J, Joerss M, Bradley R (2009) China’s green revolution: prioritizing technologies to achieve energy and environmental sustainability. McKinsey & Company, Beijing
World Coal Association (2014) A global platform for accelerating coal efficiency. http://www.worldcoal.org/reducing-CO2-emissions/platformaccelerating-coal-efficiency. Accessed 22 Mar2018
Worrell E, Martin N, Price L (2000) Potentials for energy efficiency improvement in the US cement industry. Energy 25:1189–1214
Yu S, Zhang J, Cheng J (2016) Carbon reduction cost estimating of Chinese coal-fired power generation units: a perspective from national energy consumption standard. J Clean Prod 139:612–621
Yu X, Qu H (2013) The role of China’s renewable powers against climate change during the 12th five-year and until 2020. Renew Sust Energ Rev 22:401–409
Yue H, Worrell E, Crijns-Graus W (2018) Modeling the multiple benefits of electricity savings for emissions reduction on power grid level: a case study of China’s chemical industry. Appl Energy 230:1603–1632
The research for this paper received funding from the Philosophy and Social Science Foundation of Zhengjiang Province (CN) under grant agreement no. 19NDQN323YB.
Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.
About this article
Cite this article
Chen, LJ., Fang, ZH., Xie, F. et al. Technology-side carbon abatement cost curves for China’s power generation sector. Mitig Adapt Strateg Glob Change 25, 1305–1323 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11027-019-09909-x