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Power Supply Likely to Remain Tight
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China's power supply is expected to remain squeezed in the second half of the year, with the toughest time being in the summer, according to a forecast from the China Electricity Council.


Wang Yonggan, the council's secretary-general, told a conference on Friday that, at its peak in the third quarter of this year, the shortfall is expected to hit 25 million kilowatts, despite a moderately improved situation compared to last year.


But the supply shortage will ease to some 10 million kilowatts in the forth quarter as a number of newly added generating units are put on line.


Speaking at the Power Demand and Supply Analysis and Forecast Conference, Wang warned that "the overall situation of power supply still appears challenging."


Due to high temperatures, 14 provinces, municipalities and autonomous regions suffered power cuts in June.


As in previous years, eastern, southern and northern areas will be hardest hit by the blackouts, according to predictions.


The power crunch in eastern areas is expected to top 17 million kilowatts in the third quarter, with 6 million kilowatt shortages in both Zhejiang and Jiangsu provinces. But this figure is likely to drop to four million kilowatts in the forth quarter.


China's power supply and demand all maintained strong growth in the first six months.


Power production had hit 1,128.6 billion kilowatt-hour by the end of June, an increase of 13.2 per cent year-on-year. Hydroelectric power generation reach an all time high due to the heavy rainfall and production from the Three Gorges power plant.


According to Wang Yonggan, 70 million kilowatts of new power generation capacity will go online this year, of which 60 million kilowatts, 80 per cent, is to come from fossil fuel burning power stations.


The nation consumed 1,148.7 billion kilowatt-hour in the first six months, a jump of 13.9 per cent from the same period last year.


Power consumption differs largely among different industries. Information transmission, IT service and software industries are the top three in terms of increase in power consumption, all rising 20.8 per cent; while consumption by transportation and post industry sectors dropped 2.65 per cent year-on-year.


The restructuring of key power consumption industries also paid off. The over expansion of black metal, coloured metal, the chemical industry and construction materials has been effectively curbed, slowing their demand for power.


(China Daily July 30, 2005)


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