Shanxi’s energy transformation for shared future

Once China’s coal-producing hub and thus a heavily polluted area, Shanxi province, the country’s first pilot province for comprehensive energy reform, has announced its goal to become a pioneer in China’s energy revolution, as well as turning itself into a landmark in opening up among China’s inland provinces.


“The coal Shanxi produced was once used to ignite half of China’s lights. Currently, we are reducing our reliance on fossil fuels, turning our province from the country’s ‘coal leader’ to its ‘energy revolution pioneer,’” said Luo Huining, secretary of the Shanxi Provincial Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC), during a press conference held at the State Council Information Office recently.


Shanxi is China’s second-largest coal producer after Inner Mongolia. Since the 18th CPC National Congress, local governments have used the idea of ecological civilization as a guide for economic and social development, affirming that environmental protection is of utmost importance, even at the expense of GDP.


“When people talk about Shanxi, many of them still believe that the province is dirty and polluted. But through continuous efforts, we have managed to carry out energy reform, using clean energy instead of coal, and the environment has improved,” said Luo.


In 2018, the emissions of chemical oxygen demand, ammonia nitrogen, sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides were 340,400 tons, 43,500 tons, 896,000 tons and 794,000 tons, respectively, down 30.47 percent, 26.39 percent, 35.95 percent and 38.26 percent from 2011. Taiyuan, Shanxi’s capital, has become the world’s first city where all taxis are electric vehicles.


According to Luo, Shanxi will make breakthroughs in energy technology, deepen reform of its energy system and expand foreign competition in its energy market to lead the national energy revolution.


In addition to energy reform, the inland province is also making great efforts to further open up to both domestic and foreign investment with favorable policies and governmental support.


“Living in an era of globalization and advanced information technology, opening up is no longer the privilege of coastal provinces. Inland provinces can also seize the chance to become the new high ground opening to the world,” said Luo.


With the regional advantage of linking multiple regions, Shanxi is actively integrated into economic programs including the Belt and Road Initiative and the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area, aiming to build a landmark of opening-up for inland regions. Fifty China-Europe (Central Asia) cargo trains have been launched, while business registration and license applications of foreign-funded enterprises can now be handled in one go.


The province has also made an effort to invest in foreign lands. For instance, the Jinfei Economic and Trade Cooperation Zone, a smart city focusing on the financial sector developed by Shanxi in Mauritius, has now attracted over 40 enterprises from over 10 countries.


“From January to July, Shanxi has initiated 1,476 investment programs, with an estimated investment volume of 910.9 billion yuan, and now 919 programs have already started. One hundred eighty countries and regions are now trading with us,” said Luo.


“Shanxi will further open up to the world, and we will take more steps to ensure that,” he added.


(Source: People’s Daily)