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Electricity in People's Republic of China in 2023

Global Ranking: #45
35.3% #96 Low-carbon electricity
52.62 % #24 Electrification
757.37 watts #42 Generation / person
530.77 gCO2eq/kWh #151 Carbon Intensity

In 2023, the People's Republic of China generated its electricity with a significant reliance on fossil fuels, constituting nearly 65% of the total electricity production. Coal alone accounted for about 61%, underscoring the dominance of fossil-based electricity generation. On the other hand, low-carbon energy sources contributed to roughly 35% of China's electricity. Hydropower was the most significant source among the clean energies with about 13%, followed by wind at approximately 9%, solar at around 6%, and nuclear close to 5%. Biofuels and gas played a minimal role, accounting for about 2% and 3% respectively. This delineation between fossil fuels and low-carbon sources highlights the substantial gap in moving towards cleaner electricity.


To increase low-carbon electricity generation, China can learn from other countries that have successfully boosted their low-carbon energy production. For example, France generates 65% of its electricity from nuclear power, showcasing the potential of nuclear as a reliable and significant source of clean energy. Similarly, Slovakia and Ukraine produce more than half of their electricity from nuclear power, demonstrating that a substantial portion of clean energy can be sourced from nuclear. Denmark, with 53% of its electricity coming from wind, illustrates how wind power can be harnessed effectively. These successful models underscore that China could significantly expand its nuclear, wind, and solar capacities to reduce its reliance on fossil fuels, alleviate air pollution, and combat climate change.


Historically, China's journey with low-carbon electricity shows substantial growth, particularly in hydropower and later in wind and solar energy. In the early 2000s, hydropower saw steady growth, with significant gains such as 55 TWh in 2001 and nearly 100 TWh by 2008. The momentum was sustained through the 2010s with notable increases, although growth slowed down in subsequent years with some years even experiencing declines. Wind and solar saw a transformative era starting around 2017 when both surged rapidly; wind grew by nearly 60 TWh, and solar added a similar amount. The growth continued robustly, with monumental increases in 2021 and 2022, where wind added over 180 TWh and solar around 66 TWh in 2021 alone. Wind and solar continued their upward trajectory in 2023, making significant gains, whereas hydropower faced a notable decline. This historical trajectory shows China's capability and commitment to expanding its low-carbon electricity sources, paving the way for a sustainable future.

Electricity Imports and Exports

Balance of Trade

Data Sources

For the year 1980 the data source is EIA.
For the years 1981 to 1984 the data sources are EIA and IEA (imports/exports).
For the years 1985 to 1989 the data sources are Energy Institute and IEA (imports/exports).
For the years 1990 to 2017 the data source is IEA.
For the year 2018 the data sources are IEA and IEA (imports/exports).
For the year 2019 the data sources are Energy Institute and IEA (imports/exports).
For the year 2020 the data source is Energy Institute.
For the years 2021 to 2022 the data sources are Energy Institute and Ember (imports/exports).
For the year 2023 the data source is Ember.
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