Introduction to Government, Corporate, International Think-tanks, and other “official” Institutions Relating to Energy in China

This section of the web contains  a wide range of governmental, corporate and international or foreign institutions relating to energy development in China, especially in relation to the key branches of the country’ energy sector. These are coal, nuclear energy, oil and gas, hydropower, renewable energy (especially wind and solar) and the electrical power sector.

On the one hand, it includes the main state and government based institutions that relate to policy making, overseeing, coordination and regulation in the sector. It also includes relevant governmental or state bodies relating to the environmental, industrial, scientific, technological, commercial and financial aspects of the energy sector. A range of government departments, ministries and agencies operate in the energy sector, or in related areas. In recent years these have gone through a major restructuring process, especially since the late 1990s. The policy and legal framework, including targets, are extremely important aspects of China’s energy sector. 

On the other hand, it also includes the main industrial corporations in the sector. For most of the sector, these are the large and (relatively) newly created State-Owned Enterprises (SOEs), but also some private companies are included, as well as industry groupings and associations. The companies are listed in stock exchanges, both domestic and internationally. They are very powerful, both politically and economically, and many are playing an increasingly important global role. In many cases, energy sector restructuring, in line with wider restructuring of the Chinese economy, resulted in what were formerly Ministries being broken down into large State-Owned Enterprises (SOEs). These state-owned enterprises are still essentially state/public sector entities, but have been restructured to give a higher prioritization to profit making, as previously many of the branches of the energy sector made heavy losses. However, they are still bound to ensure security of energy supply, over and above profits. In particular, the strategic sectors, including coal, nuclear, oil, electricity (including hydro), are mainly still state-owned. Renewable energy is slightly different, as although the project development is mainly the state sector, the infrastructure manufacturing companies are mainly private, with strong levels of state support. There are some exceptions to this, and as with other branches of the energy sector, there are also important state-owned companies in the renewable energy sector. Finally, in addition to the wide range of energy sector companies, there are also important financial companies that support the sector.

Also included are a range of organizations that may be considered as “official NGOs”, organizations that have varying degrees of independence from the state, but are nonetheless extremely close to it in terms of both their activities and their political outlook; a small number of relevant media institutions have also been included.

Another important area is the wide range of organizations, foundations think-tanks and other types of organizations from outside of China, that are working extensively on energy development in China, despite originating from other countries. These are listed in this section of the website, as opposed to the section on civil society organizations, since many of them are either directly involved in building interstate relations (such as official governmental technology transfer and international cooperation organizations), or they promote an intellectual outlook on the sector that is, in broad terms, quite close to governmental perspectives. These have an important influence on Chinese institutions, and are an important part of China’s energy landscape. This includes overseas governmental agencies, foundations and think-tanks, university centres, development cooperation bodies, and other institutions working on the issue of energy in China.

Finally, there is also a section on international energy conferences that have been held in China. International Energy Conferences that have taken place in China, or will take place shortly, of which there have been a number of very important and influential ones. This includes the Second International Renewable Energy Conference which took place in 2005 in Beijing (following from the landmark First  International Renewable Energy Conference which took place in Bonn, Germany, in 2004), and had an important impact on the global renewable energy landscape. Another example is the 3rd World Wind Energy Conference which took place in Beijing in 2004 and had an important influence on wind energy development in China. These are just some examples of the wide range of international conferences that China has hosted in all branches of the energy sector.