China’s power sector has been the driving force for the country’s economic and social development but also a cause of environmental pressures. Additionally, institutional features may undermine sustainability: institutional boundaries lack clarity, there is no level playing field for industry participants, information disclosure is often limited, and enforcement of regulations is not always rigorous. The sector’s development has been uneven, with periods of rapid expansion against a backdrop of supply shortages and later growth slowdowns as overcapacity increases. While the legal framework behind the sector has expanded, institutional reform remains difficult given the tight relationships between party, state and industry. Tensions also abound within and between bureaucratic agencies. Despite its size and complexity, China has undergone many reforms and is poised for a low-carbon future.