China’s draft energy law finally sees the light after 18 years in the making


by William Zheng at

Nearly two decades in the making, China’s draft energy law has been handed to the national legislature for review to govern security, innovation and corporate behaviour in the industry.

Stalled by vested interests, the draft was submitted on Friday by the State Council to the National People’s Congress Standing Committee for consideration at its meeting in Beijing next week, 18 years after such legislation was first mooted.

The committee will also consider separate draft amendments to the atomic energy law and proposed legislative changes covering academic degrees, tariffs, national defence education, and accounting, among others.

The long-awaited legislation is wide-ranging, covering all aspects of the industry from planning to distribution, conservation, rural energy development and pricing.

Yang Heqing, from the committee’s Legislative Affairs Commission, said the draft energy law was designed to safeguard energy supplies, promote the shift to low-carbon power and support sustainable development.

“The main content includes improvement to the energy planning system and the energy development and utilisation system,” Yang said.

“[It is also meant to] strengthen the construction of the energy market system, improve the energy reserve system and emergency response system, and strengthen innovation in energy technology.”

In a nod to China’s offshore investment and its risks, the draft says the state “encourages innovation in foreign energy investment and cooperation methods”, but also protects “the legitimate rights and interests of Chinese citizens, legal persons and other organisations engaged in energy development and utilisation activities abroad”.