Energy Security in Times of Economic Transition: Lessons from China

ISBN: 978-1-83982-465-4, eISBN: 978-1-83982-464-7

Publication date: 20 January 2021


Lixia, Y. (2021), "Prelims", Energy Security in Times of Economic Transition: Lessons from China, Emerald Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. i-xx.



Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2021 Emerald Publishing Limited

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Energy Security in Times of Economic Transition

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Energy Security in Times of Economic Transition: Lessons from China


Yao Lixia

United Kingdom – North America – Japan – India – Malaysia – China

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Howard House, Wagon Lane, Bingley BD16 1WA, UK

First edition 2021

Copyright © 2021 Emerald Publishing Limited

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ISBN: 978-1-83982-465-4 (Print)

ISBN: 978-1-83982-464-7 (Online)

ISBN: 978-1-83982-466-1 (Epub)


Abbreviations ix
Introduction xiii
Acknowledgment xv
List of Tables xvii
List of Figures xix
Chapter 1 Into the Landscape 1
1.1 Background 1
 1.1.1 Energy Security and Energy Policy 1
 1.1.2 Definitions of Energy Security and Energy Policy 2
 1.1.3 The Importance of Analysing China’s Energy Policy 4
1.2 Research Questions and Key Findings 5
1.3 Existing Discussions on China’s Energy Policy and Energy Security 5
1.4 Study Value and Contributions to Knowledge 9
1.5 The 4-As Framework 11
1.6 Analytical Framework of the Book 12
 1.6.1 Explanation of the Analytical Framework 12
 1.6.2 The Scope of the Analytical Framework 14
1.7 Research Methodology 15
1.8 Book Structure 15
Chapter 2 Energy Security: Concepts, Frameworks and Indicators 17
2.1 Views on Energy Policy and Energy Security 17
 2.1.1 Energy Policy 17
 2.1.2 Energy Security 18
 2.1.3 Assessment Frameworks for Energy Security 22
2.2 The Concept of Energy Security – A Need for a Holistic Approach 28
2.3 The Quantification of Energy Security: Indicators Identification 32
 2.3.1 Simple Energy Security Indicators 34
 2.3.2 Aggregated Energy Security Indicators 34
 2.3.3 Independent Energy Security Measurement Systems 36
2.4 Chapter Summary 38
Chapter 3 Quantitative Analysis of Energy Security in China 39
3.1 Formulation of Indicators to Examine Energy Security in China 39
 3.1.1 Availability (AV) Indicators 42
 3.1.2 Applicability (AP) Indicators 44
 3.1.3 Acceptability (AC) Indicators 49
 3.1.4 Affordability (AF) Indicators 52
3.2 Data 54
 3.2.1 The AV Data 54
 3.2.2 The AP Data55
 3.2.3 The AC Data56
 3.2.4 The AF Data57
3.3 Data Coding and the Performance Scoring 58
 3.3.1 Data Coding 58
 3.3.2 Performance Scoring – Area of Rhombus59
3.4 Evolution of the 4-As 59
 3.4.1 An Overview59
 3.4.2 The AV Trend66
 3.4.3 The AP Trend 68
 3.4.4 The AC Trend 69
 3.4.5 The AF Trend 71
3.5 Chapter Summary 73
Chapter 4 Energy Policy in China Since its Reform and Opening Up 75
4.1 Energy Policies from 1949 (Founding of PRC) to 1976 (End of Cultural Revolution) 75
 4.1.1 Energy Polices from 1949 (Founding of PRC) to 1957 (End of the First Five-Year Plan) 75
 4.1.2 Energy Policies During the ‘Great Leap Forward’ 77
 4.1.3 Energy Policies after the ‘Great Leap Forward’ (from 1961 to 1966) 79
 4.1.4 Energy Policies During the ‘Cultural Revolution’ (from 1966 to 1976) 81
4.2 Energy Policies of the AV Dimension 82
 4.2.1 Coal Production During the Reform Period 82
 4.2.2 China’s Oil and Gas Industry 87
 4.2.3 China’s Electricity Generation 88
4.3 Energy Policies of the AP Dimension 90
 4.3.1 Energy Conservation and Energy Intensity 90
 4.3.2 Advancement of Energy Technologies During the Reform Period 95
4.4 Energy Policies of the AC Dimension 96
 4.4.1 Air Pollution Control During the Reform Period 96
 4.4.2 Policies on Renewable Energies and Nuclear Power 102
4.5 Energy Policies of the AF Dimension 106
 4.5.1 Policies on Coal Price 106
 4.5.2 Policies on Electricity Price 108
 4.5.3 Policies on Oil Price 110
4.6 Chapter Summary and Further Discussion 111
Chapter 5 The Impact of Economic Reforms on the Energy Sector and Energy Security 113
5.1 Introduction 114
5.2 Economic Reform and Energy Sector Reform: The Frst Phase (1978–1992) 115
 5.2.1 The Initial Period (1978–1984): Planned Economy Dominating, Market Regulation Supplemented 116
 5.2.2 From Rural to Urban: Further and Faster Reforms Until 1989 (1984–1989) 119
 5.2.3 Adjustment and Recovering of the Economy (1989–1992): Combination of Planned Economy and Market Regulation 124
5.3 Economic Reform and Energy Sector Reform: The Second Phase (1993–2002) 127
 5.3.1 Government Structure Reform and Its Impacts on Energy Sector 127
 5.3.2 Fiscal and Financial Reforms and Their Impact on Energy Sector 130
 5.3.3 SOEs Reform and Its Impact on Energy Sector 132
 5.3.4 Western Development Strategy and Its Impacts on Energy Sector 139
 5.3.5 A Critical Review of the Economic Reform During the Second Phase and Its Impact on the Energy Sector 141
5.4 Economic Reform and Energy Sector Reform: The Third Phase (2003–2010) 142
 5.4.1 Further SOEs Reform 144
 5.4.2 Continuing Marketisation 145
 5.4.3 Increasing Attention to Environmental Protection 147
5.5 China’s Economic Reform and Energy Security: A Chapter Conclusion 149
Chapter 6 Belt and Road Initiative and China’s Energy Security: Can China be More Energy Secured? 151
6.1 Introduction 151
6.2 BRI Projects in the World’s Energy Sector 152
 6.2.1. Central Asia 152
 6.2.2. South Asia 154
 6.2.3. Middle East 156
 6.2.4. Southeast Asia 158
6.3 Conclusion 159
Chapter 7 Conclusion 161
7.1 Contribution of the Book: The Quantitative Methodology 163
7.2 Contribution of the Book: The Qualitative Methodology 165
7.3 Contribution of the Book: China’s Energy Security Under BRI 170
Bibliography 171
Index 193


Acceptability by society AC
Affordability of energy prices AF
Analytic hierarchical process AHP
Applicability of technology AP
Asia Pacific Energy Research Centre APERC
Availability of resource AV
Barrels per day bpd
Belt and Road Initiative BRI
Billion cubic metres bcm
British Petroleum BP
Carbon capture and storage CCS
Carbon dioxide CO2
China Energy Conservation Investment Corporation CECIC
China National Offshore Oil Corporation CNOOC
China National Petroleum Corporation CNPC
China Petrochemical Corporation Sinopec
China Statistical Yearbook CSY
China’s National Development and Reform Commission NDRC
China-Pakistan Economic Corridor CPEC
Chinese Academy of Social Sciences CASS
Chinese Communist Party CCP
Coal-bed methane CBM
Coal-mine methane CMM
Contract Responsibility System CRS
Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform DBERR
Diversification of primary energy demand DoPED
Driving force–state–response DSR
Energy indicators for sustainable development EISD
Energy Information Administration EIA
European Union EU
Five-Year Plan of economic and social development FYP
Frontier Works Organisation FWO
Global Terrorism Index GTI
Greenhouse gas GHG
Gross domestic product GDP
Gross national product GNP
Group company system GCS
Gulf Cooperation Council GCC
Household Responsibility system HRS
Hydro, Eolien, Light, Insulation, Organomasse HELIO
Independent power producer IPP
Indicators for sustainable energy development ISED
Initial public offering IPO
International Atomic Energy Agency IAEA
International Energy Agency IEA
Kilowatt-hour kWh
Kuomintang KMT
Large and medium-sized enterprise LME
Liquefied natural gas LNG
Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory LBNL
Megawatt-hour MWh
Memorandum of understanding MOU
Middle East Oil Import Dependency MEOID
Million tons Mt
Modern enterprise system MES
National Bureau of Statistics of China NBS
National Energy Administration NEA
National Environmental Protection Agency NEPA
National Oil Company NOC
National People’s Congress NPC
National Renewable Energy Laboratory NREL
Net energy import dependency NEID
Net oil import dependency NOID
Non-carbon based fuel portfolio NCFP
Non-governmental organisation NGO
Not in my backyard NIMBY
Oil vulnerability index OVI
Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development OECD
Particulate matter-10 PM10
People’s Republic of China PRC
Renminbi RMB
Research and Development R&D
Reserve-to-production R/P
State Electricity Regulatory Commission SERC
Small and medium-sized enterprise SME
State Development and Planning Commission SDPC
State Economic and Trade Commission SETC
State Electricity Regulatory Commission SERC
State Environmental Protection Administration SEPA
State Petrochemical Industry Bureau SPIB
State Planning Commission SPC
State Power Corporation of China SPCC
State Power Investment Corporation SPIC
State-owned enterprise SOE
Sulfur dioxide SO2
Sustainable Energy Watch SEW
Sustainability indicator SI
Tons of coal equivalent tce
Total primary energy supply TPES
Township and village coal mine TVCM
Township and village enterprise TVE
United Nations UN
United Nations Development Programme UNDP
United States U.S.
United States Dollar USD
Work programme on indicators of sustainable development WPISD
World Energy Council WEC


Despite unprecedented energy consumption rates and environmental sustainability threats, China has seen fast economic growth and its energy policy and energy security have gone through decades of transformation. As China’s economy shifts from a planned to a market mechanism, it is valuable to find the root reason behind the transformation of the energy policy and energy security situation.

International political economy and security studies on China have yet to explore the interaction among three important factors: its energy policy, its energy security, and macroeconomic reform. This book aims to fill this gap in the literature with a new methodological approach to the study of China’s energy security. It applies both quantitative and qualitative analyses to the energy security situation in China during the reform period. With this said, two primary objectives are achieved in this book. The first objective is to examine how the energy security situation in China has evolved during the economic reform period. This book establishes a quantitative framework based on a comprehensive concept of energy security which covers availability of resources, applicability of technologies, acceptability by society, and affordability of prices. The framework analysis shows that China’s energy security situation has not improved during the reform period.

The second objective of the book is to explore qualitatively why the energy security situation has not improved. To answer the ‘why’ question, the book opens up a new perspective by analysing the relationship between energy policies and the macroeconomic reform. It is found that China’s macroeconomic reform has restricted the formation of China’s energy policies and determined its energy security situation. In essence, China’s energy policies are only a reaction to the macroeconomic measures. In other words, China’s energy policies are not originally intended to improve energy security, but passive reactions to China’s macroeconomic reform. This explains why China did not improve its energy security situation despite 40 years of reform.

In addition, with a separate chapter, it also includes an international perspective by studying the impact of China’s Belt and Road Initiative on its energy security situation. This book is not only meaningful for the case of China but also useful to explain energy security in other countries, especially those countries in economic transition.


I would like to thank my parents from the bottom of my heart for their dedication and support. They always stand by me whenever I am in difficulty. They are the nicest people in my world.

List of Tables

Table 3.1. China’s Coal Reserve (Mt), Coal Production (Mt), and Coal R/P Ratio (Years) 55
Table 3.2. Av Data for Each Ending Year of the Fyp Periods 55
Table 3.3. Ap Data for Each Ending Year of the Fyp Periods 57
Table 3.4. Ac Data for Each Ending Year of the Fyp Periods 57
Table 3.5. Af Data for Each Ending Year of the Fyp Periods 58
Table 3.6. Scoring Scale for Data Converted into Ordinal Values 60
Table 3.7. The 4-As Indicators in Ordinal Values 61
Table 3.8. Total Rhombus Area of Ending Year of Fyp 65
Table 3.9. Imbalance Index of Ending Year of Fyp 65

List of Figures

Fig. 1.1. The Macro Economy-Driven Energy Security Mechanism 12
Fig. 2.1. The Energy Security Spectrum 24
Fig. 2.2. A General Framework Evaluating Energy Security in China 27
Fig. 2.3. A Detailed Framework Evaluating Energy Security in China 28
Fig. 3.1. The Concept Behind Sustainability Indicators 40
Fig. 3.2. Energy Security Status of 1980 (Benchmark for This Study): 68.04 Sq. Units 62
Fig. 3.3. Energy Security Status of 1985 (the Ending Year of the Sixth Fyp Period): 72.52 Sq. Units 62
Fig. 3.4. Energy Security Status of 1990 (the Ending Year of the Seventh Fyp Period): 59 Sq. Units 63
Fig. 3.5. Energy Security Status of 1995 (the Ending Year of the Eighth Fyp Period): 43.92 Sq. Units 63
Fig. 3.6. Energy Security Status of 2000 (the Ending Year of the Ninth Fyp Period): 52.48 Sq. Units 64
Fig. 3.7. Energy Security Status of 2005 (the Ending Year of the Tenth Fyp Period): 70.84 Sq. Units 64
Fig. 3.8. Energy Security Status of 2010 (the Ending Year of the Eleventh Fyp Period): 62.32 Sq. Units 65
Fig. 3.9. Evolving Trend Timeline for Area of the Rhombuses 66
Fig. 3.10. Trend Illustration of Average Value for Av 67
Fig. 3.11. Trend Illustration of Average Value for Ap 68
Fig. 3.12. Trend Illustration of Average Value for Ac 70
Fig. 3.13. Trend Illustration of Average Value for Af 71
Fig. 4.1. Output Increase by the Centrally Administered State-Owned Mines and TVCMs from 2001 to 2006 (million tons) 86