Report | 2021

Zero-Carbon Targeted Integrated Energy Planning

An Innovative District-Level Pathway to Support Carbon Neutrality by 2060

By Yihan HaoMeng Wang
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During the 75th session of the UN general assembly, President Xi Jinping announced a strategic goal for China to “enhance its nationally determined contribution by adopting more powerful policies and measures, aiming to have CO2 emissions peak by 2030, and achieve carbon neutrality by 2060.”

China has experienced rapid urbanization in the past few decades and will continue to urbanize in the future. One key driver of urban growth is the more than 3,500 new urban development zones being planned or under construction in China. As such, exploring zero-carbon urban energy transformation pathways in new urban development zones is an important and innovative way to contribute to the national carbon-neutrality goal. Furthermore, integrated energy planning (IEP) for new urban development zones will be a key tool to achieve the zero-carbon goal in urban areas.

Compared with traditional energy planning, IEP shifts the focus from the supply side to the demand side, and focuses on three major energy-consuming urban sectors including buildings, transportation, and industry. It aims at building a clean, efficient, and reliable energy system in new urban development zones. It does this through optimizing the allocation of energy, improving energy efficiency, and utilizing renewable energy to avoid overlapping, misallocation, and excess allocation of energy resources, which could help reduce investment and operation costs of the system.

Employing zero-carbon targeted integrated energy planning in new urban development zones could unlock the full potential of carbon emissions mitigation, contributing to China’s goals of CO2 emissions peaking by 2030 and carbon neutrality by 2060. Analysis in this report shows that if all the new urban development zones in China adopt zero-carbon targeted IEP methodology, the contribution to the total emissions reduction of China’s carbon-neutrality goal could reach at least 15%.