An installation-level model of China’s coal sector shows how its decarbonisation and energy security plans will reduce overseas coal imports

Crawford School of Public Policy
Photo by Planet Labs inc.on Wikimedia Commons

Event details

ACDE Seminar

Date & time

Tuesday 08 March 2022


Weston Theatre, Crawford School of Public Policy, No 132, Lennox Crossing, The ANU


Jorrit Gosens, Australian National University

Hybrid Event - link available on registration

China aims for net-zero carbon emissions by 2060, and an emissions peak before 2030. This will reduce its consumption of coal for power generation and steel making. Simultaneously, China aims for improved energy security, primarily with expanded domestic coal production and transport infrastructure. Here, we analyse effects of both these pressures on seaborne coal imports using a purpose-built model of China’s coal production, transport, and consumption system with installation-level geospatial and technical detail. This represents a 1000-fold increase in granularity versus earlier models, allowing representation of aspects that have previously been obscured. We find that reduced Chinese coal consumption affects seaborne imports much more strongly than domestic supply. Recent expansions of rail and port capacity, which reduce costs of getting domestic coal to southern coastal provinces, will further reduce demand for seaborne thermal coal and amplify the effect of decarbonisation on coal imports. Seaborne coking coal imports are also likely to fall, because of expanded supply of cheap and high quality coking coal from neighbouring Mongolia.

Link to paper

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