China aims to cap total primary energy consumption at around 4.4 billion tons of coal equivalent in 2017, the director of the National Energy Administration (NEA) said, close to 2016 levels as the country continues a push to use cleaner fuel.
The world's biggest consumer of energy plans to lift the ratio of natural gas in its energy mix to 6.8 percent next year from 5.9 percent in 2015, Nur Bekri, director of the NEA, told a conference in Beijing. He said the goal was to reduce coal consumption to around 60 percent of the total next year from 64 percent in 2015.
China is in the third year of a "war on pollution," with previous years of high energy demand growth putting the environment under increasing pressure. The rate of average annual energy demand growth was 6.4 percent from 2005 to 2012.
Total primary energy consumption is expected to have reached 4.36 billion tons of coal equivalent in 2016, up 1.4 percent from 2015. That would be higher than the 0.9 percent growth rate forecast by the NEA.
As its economy slows, China aims to switch to less energy-intensive industries and make more efficient use of its resources. Bekri said on Wednesday China will aim to raise the ratio of non-fossil fuel consumption in its energy mix to 14.3 percent in 2017, up from an estimated 13.3 percent this year.
The NEA will give priority to upgrading coal-fired power plants, as well as building new gas-burning utilities, Bekri told the conference.
"We have to pay a great deal of attention to overcapacity in coal-fired power plants," Bekri said, adding the country will continue to crack down on illegal coal mines and strictly control coal output in 2017.
During the 13th Five-Year Plan period (2016-20), China aims to keep total energy use below 5 billion tons of standard coal equivalent by the end of the decade. It aims to cap coal-fired power capacity at 1,100 gigawatts by 2020.