Michael Davidson

As the world’s largest energy consumer and fastest growing source of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, China’s power sector has a disproportionate impact on climate change as well as other transboundary pollution challenges. China has set ambitious medium- and long-term goals for wind energy deployment to help mitigate these impacts; however, based on current utilization rates and inefficiencies of renewable energy integration it is not a foregone conclusion that the desired transition toward less environmentally-harmful energy sources will occur, and if so, when it will occur. With the support of the Martin Fellowship, my doctoral research seeks to address the wide range of uncertainty surrounding regulatory reforms and technical upgrading of China’s electricity sector in order to assess the long-term viability of wind energy in this context. My methods span quantitative optimization and qualitative interviewing in order to represent both technical and organizational features of China’s power system operation. Methodologies and results from this work may be applicable to similar systems with incomplete electricity regulatory reforms, and provide policy recommendations for power system planners trying to meet low-carbon targets.