China expects its installed power generating capacity to grow by around one third to 840 gigawatts by the end of the decade, the official Xinhua news agency reported on Monday.
A spate of new capacity means a brownout-free summer this year, Xinhua said, citing Zhao Xiaoping, the head of the energy bureau at the country’s top economic planner, the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC).
The world’s second largest consumer last year added new capacity nearly equivalent to the whole generating ability of France or Germany and needs expansion to keep pace with the needs of its breakneck economic growth.
The forecast increase, spread over three years, would represent a slowdown from 2006′s frenetic 20 percent growth to 622 GW, and would leave China lagging far behind the United States, which already has over 1,000 GW of capacity.
The portion of coal burning plants would slip slightly to around 70 percent, or 593 GW, while hydropower would be 190 GW.
Wind generation will rise to 5 GW, biomass will be 5.5 GW, nuclear 10 GW and natural gas a modest 4 percent or 36 GW, under the forecast which sees GDP growth of around 8.5 percent.
China officially aimed to reach 650 GW of capacity by the end of the decade but booming economic growth pushed up demand far more rapidly than planners had anticipated.
Last year’s spate of new capacity additions allowed most of China to avoid the rolling brown-outs and reliance on individual generators of the previous years.
China will shut down small coal power stations and stop new small stations over the next four years in a drive to raise energy efficiency and cut pollution, Chinese Vice Premier Zeng Peiyan said earlier this week.
Zeng, a top industry policy-maker, told a meeting of energy officials that the closures were necessary for China to reach strict energy conservation goals, Xinhua reported.
Many smaller stations that produce less than 50 megawatts of electricity will be closed, and in the next four years, over half the power they produce will be shut off, Xinhua said.
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