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Power production rises by 13%
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China's major power plants produced 1.68 trillion kWh of electricity in the first half of this year, a year-on-year increase of 12.9 percent, said the China Electricity Council (CEC).

Over this period, coal-fired power plants produced 1.41 trillion kWh of electricity, an increase of 11.7 percent. Hydropower stations produced 214.9 billion kWh, up 18.5 percent, and nuclear power stations produced 32.9 billion kWh, a 25.9 percent increase, the CEC said.

Power consumption stood at 1.69 trillion kWh in the first six months, up 11.67 percent, it said.

China added 33 gW of installed capacity during the first six months, with a total investment of 133.7 billion yuan, it said.

Although it faced some difficulties such as the snowstorm, the country's power industry still maintained rapid development, said Wang Xudong, chairman of the State Electricity Regulatory Commission (SERC), adding that the country would see a balance in power demand and supply in the second half of the year.

Environmental protection should also be underlined for the industry, said Wang. From January to May, small-scale power generating units with a total capacity of 5,790 mW had been closed nationwide.

Last week, Huaneng Beijing thermal power plant launched China's first post-combustion CO2 capture pilot project.

Post-combustion capture is a process that traps CO2 from flue gases of power plants. It is a key technology that can potentially reduce CO2 emissions from coal-fired power plants.

With an investment of 28 million yuan, the project, which is in cooperation with research institutes in Australia, can capture 3,000 tons of CO2 in a year.

Analysts said soaring coal prices continue to be a major problem for China's power producers. Huaneng Power International Inc, the listed company of China Huaneng Group, said last week that it would see losses in the first half-year results, despite seeing a 13.43 percent increase in its power generation during this period. Huadian Power International Corp, the listed arm of China Huadian Corp, also said last week it expected a net loss for the first six months in spite of a 65 percent growth in electricity production.

China's power generators have seen some relief from the recent electricity price hike, but as coal costs mount despite government price caps, another tariff hike will be needed to put the industry back in the black, said Han Xiaoping, senior vice-president of Beijing Falcon Pioneer Technology Co Ltd. "I personally think there's a chance for another hike after the Olympic Games," he said.

(China Daily July 23, 2008)

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