Assessment of greenhouse gasses and air pollutant emissions embodied in cross-province electricity trade in China

Elsevier BV
Publication Type:
Journal Article
Resources, Conservation and Recycling, 2021, 171, pp. 105623-105623
Issue Date:
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In China, cross-regional electricity trade is an important measure to alleviate the unbalanced spatial distribution of electricity consumption and generation. This paper analyses the greenhouse gasses (GHG) and air pollutant emissions embodied in the cross-province trade of electricity in China, by using a Quasi-Input-Output model. The results of the analysis suggest that the trade-embodied emissions in China amounted to 607 Mt, 294 kt, 318 kt, and 61 kt, for GHG, SO2, NOx and dust, respectively, in 2017. Much of these emissions was transferred from the eastern coastal city-clusters (Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei, Yangtze River Delta, and Pearl River Delta) to the resource-rich western provinces, especially Inner Mongolia and Xinjiang, where coal has continued to occupy a central place in their generation technology-fuel mix. The amount of emissions transferred, however, reduced in relative term in 2017, for the Yangtze River and Pearl River regions, when compared with that in 2013, as indicated by emissions factors decreasing faster at the consumption side than that at the production side in these regions over the period 2013–2017. In contrast, in Beijing and Tianjin, the relative emissions transferred became more pronounced in 2017, as compared with that in 2013, due probably to the fact that much of their imported electricity was from Shanxi, Inner Mongolia, and Xinjiang with large share of coal generation. Moreover, in addition to direct emissions transfer, indirect emissions transfer caused by electricity exporters purchasing electricity from other grids are also significant, and in some cases (such as, Hunan), these emissions account for over half of the total emissions transferred. This paper also discusses some key policy insights on issues related to the design of the national emissions trading scheme, network infrastructure investment, and consumer education aimed at encouraging the emissions-reduction behavior.
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