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Character sketch by Guo Hongsong

Experts’ views on Two Sessions

This year’s government work report emphasizes safeguarding food and energy security is one of bottom lines for security maintained in six areas (job security, basic living needs, operations of market entities, food and energy security, stable industrial and supply chains, and the normal functioning of primary-level governments), clear that “safeguarding food and energy security” means “promoting cleaner and more efficient use of coal, developing renewable energy, improving systems for the production, supply, and sale of oil, natural gas, and electricity, and bolstering energy reserve capacity.” It is all known that energy is the fundamental power of social and economic operation. As a researcher having been engaged in the energy research for a long term, I deeply believe the energy revolution will be a tremendous momentum in the new journey of China’s economic and social development in the current crucial stage of the development.

Energy security is a matter of national security. The urban energy consumption accounts for over 80% currently in China. With acceleration of green energy transformation, more and more coupling is coming among energies of electricity, heat, gas and traffic, which leads to an increasing synergy in urban integral energy securities. Most of all, in the background of frequent occurrence of natural disasters and extreme climates, a safe and stable operation of urban integral energy systems will become a vulnerable link, and often affects public safety in most cases. It is suggested that both emergency command and collaborative mechanism as the smart city energy brain should be built as soon as possible for the urban integral energy systems in the coordination of governments at all levels. Only by this way, the urban resilience against major disasters in China can be promoted.

Energy is a matter of ecological civilization. Up to now, China has not yet changed its main energy structure that is based on fossil energy, and has a larger gap at its overall energy efficiency level compared with developed countries. So it should make great efforts to continue development of renewable energy sources and increase energy use efficiency. A key bottleneck is a safe and reliable energy accommodation in development of renewable energy. Recently, the Guiding Opinion on New Patterns of Promoting China Western Development in the New Era issued by the CPC Central Committee and the State Council is clear that the energy supply-demand structure needs to be optimized, that is, encouraging high-energy-demanding industries that are up to standard in environment protection and energy efficiency move to western regions with clean energy advantages. The development of new energy vehicles (NEVs) and traffic electrification are also an important way to renewable energy accommodation. If the traffic industry with nearly one third of energy consumption in China uses electric energy as a whole, the ecological conservation will be supported effectively. Currently, comprehensive energy utilization should be boosted further, and both energy conservation and efficiency should be realized by smart management and sound incentive mechanism.

Energy is a matter of economy revival. The energy industry should be a main force in reinvigorating a slumping economy, and speeding up energy revolution should be combined with economic recovery, transformation and upgrading after the end of COVID-19 pandemic. In new infrastructural time, we should take full advantages of such technologies as new information networks, 5G, cloud computing, big data and Internet of things, deepen energy revolution by the digital revolution, and drive restart and development of upstream and downstream enterprises in energy industry by building an Internet for energy.

Energy is a matter of commitment on poverty alleviation. “Accomplishing the targets and tasks for winning the battle against poverty and bringing to complete the building of a moderately prosperous society in all respects” reflects the original aspiration of CPC and its governments that is to stick to the thoughts of people supremacy and unceasingly benefiting the people. Northwestern and southwestern impoverished areas have abundant wind, light and water resources. These natural resources can be transformed into economic resources by building some major energy projects such as distributed photovoltaic power stations, large-scale wind-light bases, hydropower stations and electric transportation channels in the impoverished areas. Moreover, highlands and desert areas are changed into the wind, light and electric fields in place of conventional “oil gas and coal fields”, so as to provide green electricity to energy load centers in the east of China. Only by this, clean energy can become a substitution of fossil energy, and energy revolution can be combined with poverty alleviation.

Energy is a matter of innovation and entrepreneurship. In the Report on the Work of the Government, “continuing to encourage business startups and innovation nationwide” is regarded as an important measure in “energizing market entities through reform and strengthening new drivers of growth”. The Internet for energy is an important pivot in energy revolution. Its objective is to construct the green and low-carbon, safe and efficient, open and shared energy ecology, so that energy systems can be better connective, open and shared to become the fertile soil for “business startups and innovation nationwide”. In recent years, new incorporations related to Internet for energy are booming, and a large number of electric sale companies, recharge service firms and integral energy service corporations have sprung up. They will powerfully boost energy revolution, break all kinds of barriers, establish new business model and market mechanism, and realize co-building, sharing and win-win in the end. The digital revolution will drive and be integrated into the energy revolution with the rapid development of renewable energy, and sustainable advancement of new-type urbanization, smart cities and the Belt and Road Initiative in China. Such tremendous energy industry will hold more dynamic innovating and business startups. For this, I will make contribution as a scientific worker by continuing to work towards scientific breakthroughs and quickening the commercialization of research findings.

Profile: Sun Hongbin, long-hired professor in Tsinghua University (THU), chairman of the Academic Committee of Department of Electrical Engineering, THU, and Cheung Kong Scholar awarded by Ministry of Education.

Reprinted from the Guangming Daily

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