China's continuous struggle with energy shortage (1)

Oct 03, 2005 02:00 AM

China's gas is found largely in the west and inland regions. Four pipelines have been built in recent years to deliver the gas to east coastal cities. The longest line extends 4,000 km from Xinjiang to Shanghai.
In addition to home resources, China also imports a considerable amount of LNG from neighbouring countries.

Of the 395,000 MW hydropower potentials of the country, only less than one fourth has been exploited. The share of hydropower in total electricity production is about 24 %. China plans to raise the hydro capacity to 250,000 MW by 2020.
Nuclear power is a new favourite of government policy makers, who envision it as the third pillar of the future power industry, after clean-coal-fired power and hydropower. Plans were announced that the country would put in 400 bn yuan to build 30 GW-class nuclear power units before 2020, which would lift the nuclear total to 40,000 MW and its share in total power capacity from the current 1.6 % to 4 %. That speed is rare in the world.

Presently China has two nuclear power stations in operation and five on-going projects. All of them are located in coastal areas. China has cooperated with France, Canada and Russia in nuclear power development. Its two existing facilities run with satisfactory safety records.
The technology adopted by China's nuclear power programs is predominantly the generation-2 and -3 thermal reactors, which makes a lavish use of uranium resources. Official analysts say they wish to see a fast reactor industry in 30 to 40 years.

China's first ever Renewable Energy Law is to become effective on 1 January 2006. It will have a positive impact on the exploitation of all renewable energies. The development of wind power in China is gaining speed.
NDRC announced in May that the country will have established a complete wind industry by 2010, with a total capacity of 4,000 MW. The current 43 wind farms aggregate about 764 MW. Vigorous efforts are also being made in promoting other renewables like solar, biomass, ocean, geothermal, and hydrogen energies.

Statistics show the comprehensive efficiency rate of China's energy use is much lower than the average for developed countries, with its unit GDP power consumption two to four times higher. Experts say a frugal use through better management could save China about 200 bn KWH a year.
The nation's energy circle has a rare consensus that conservative production and frugal utilization of energy should be a prioritised development strategy. At Huaihai Road of downtown Shanghai, the 40 W filament bulbs fixed in cross-street decorations have been replaced by 3 W CCFL ones. The 6,500 low rating bulbs, while keeping the special visual effects of peeps, leaps and flows, save 90 % of the electricity.

Other places are following suit.
When all efforts pay off, analysts say, the power shortage will ease up by 2007 in the Yangtze Delta area.

Source: Xinhua English Newswire
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