Frontiers Journal of Renewable energy

Net Zero-carbon Energy In Rural China


With a business as usual (BAU) scenario, CO2 emissions from rural China will triple from 2020 to 2050. With a net zero-carbon energy scenario, all carbon emissions can be fully mitigated. The object of the article is to demonstrate how a market-based financial mechanism without government subsidies will catalyze the zero-carbon energy scenario that will comply with China’s 2060 carbon neutrality strategic goal. Data were collected on-site from interviews with more than 200 households in a rural community of Santai County in southwest China. A methodology of simple financial analyses is used to show viability of a hybrid technology of biogas and solar photovoltaic (PV) in a representative rural household. Analysis results show that it is technically feasible and financially viable to replace natural gas and grid electricity with biogas and homebased solar PV electricity without government subsidies. This article tries to develop the theory of change from fossil energy-based system to net zero-carbon energy system in rural China with 100% private investments. Four key words are concluded for the most appropriate model for China’s rural net zero-carbon energy: integration of zero-carbon energy policy and technologies, participation of rural households and private firms; engagement of local banks, and involvement of local utility companies. With that, the net zero-carbon energy system in the Chinese rural households can mitigate at least 570 million tonnes of CO2 (TCO2) per annum by 2060.