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China to raise spending on power plants and grids
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China may increase spending on power plants and grids by at least 9.3 percent this year to meet demand from economic expansion and to repair networks damaged during the country's worst snowstorms in five decades.

Power utilities may invest at least 600 billion yuan (US$84 billion) this year to expand and repair the infrastructure, a government official, who declined to be named, said at a Beijing conference yesterday. The funds will be spent equally on power generation units and grids, he said.

China spent 549.3 billion yuan on electricity generation and grids last year, Bloomberg News said.

Part of the nation's power network was damaged when snowstorms swept across the southern provinces of Guangdong, Hunan, Guizhou and Jiangxi.

"China's power demand will continue to grow rapidly this year, to keep pace with the fast economic growth," Niu Li, an economist at the State Information Center, said.

China may add about 90 gigawatts of generation capacity this year to the existing 713.3 gigawatts, the official said. Demand may rise 12.5 percent this year, at a slower pace from the 14.4 percent growth in 2007, the official added.

China plans to shut 13 gigawatts of small coal-fired power plants this year, after closing 14.38 gigawatts in 2007, the official said, as the nation tries to become more energy efficient and cut pollution.

(Shanghai Daily, February 25, 2008)

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