China's energy intensity falls at fastest pace - govt economist

BEIJING, Aug 24 (Reuters) - China’s energy intensity is declining at the fastest pace, a government economist was quoted as saying by the State Council on its website on Thursday, as the country strives to adjust its energy structure and improve energy efficiency.

Data from National Energy Administration (NEA) shows that energy consumption per unit of gross domestic product (GDP) in China has reduced 14.6 percent in 2013-2016 period.

“Energy development in China should follow a low-carbon principle and the proportion of natural gas and non-fossil fuel in energy consumption increase,” said Guo Zhi, chief economist at the NEA.

China’s installed capacity of hydropower, wind, solar and nuclear power under construction has ranked number one in the world, according to the NEA.

The world’s biggest energy consumer pledged to raise its non-fossil fuel portion of primary energy consumption to 15 percent from 12 percent by 2020.

Natural gas and non-fossil fuel consumption has grown 4.2 percent over the past 4 years, while coal consumption has decline, the NEA data shows.

Beijing is taking efficiency improvement as the crucial part in its long-going energy reform. “In the next step, the NEA will work with relevant authorities to achieve the goals of energy consumption control and carry out inspections,” said Guo.

“(The authorities) will also eliminate outdated capacity and strictly limit new capacity in high energy-consuming industries such as steel and construction materials.”

Coal consumption rose 1 percent to 1.83 billion tonnes in the first half of this year from a year earlier, driven by higher consumption in power, steel and chemical sectors, according to the NEA data. (Reporting by Muyu Xu and Beijing Newsroom; Editing by Jacqueline Wong)