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Nation's Power Troubles to Be Eased
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Power shortages in China are expected to be greatly eased over the remainder of 2006, according to a senior official with the China Electricity Council (CEC) yesterday.

"Power supply and demand will be balanced nationwide in the next half of the year although short-term power shortages will still exist in a few regions," said CEC secretary-general Wang Yonggan at a press conference in Beijing.

Power shortages existed in only four provinces in June compared with 25 at the beginning of 2005 and nine in January. Wang said power shortages had decreased remarkably in the first six months of this year as new, large power stations came on stream.

In the first half of 2006 China saw newly installed power capacity of 32.41 million kilowatts. Of that 11.1 percent was from hydro power stations and 88.48 percent from thermal plants.

The nation generated 1.23 trillion kilowatt-hours of power during the first six months of the year which was a year-on-year increase of 12 percent, according to the CEC. Hydro accounts for 13.76 percent of electricity generated, thermal 83.93 percent and nuclear 2.02 percent.

In the first half of the year China's total power consumption reached 1.3 trillion kilowatt-hours which is an increase of 12.89 percent over the same period last year. Wang estimated China's total power consumption in 2006 would increase by 12 percent over last year.

The biggest power deficit would be 8 million kilowatts during the summer peak with mainly the east, north and parts of south China affected, Wang said.

He explained that China invested 75 billion yuan (US$9.2 billion) on construction and reformation of electricity networks in the first six months of 2006 which had greatly improved the country's power transport capacity.

Wang said the power industry must work to reduce energy consumption per unit of GDP by 20 percent in accordance with the 11th Five-Year Plan (2006-10). Consequently, renewable and clean energies such as hydro and nuclear power would enjoy priority in the country's long-term development strategy.

In the first six months China's standard coal consumption rate in power generation dropped to 362 grams per kilowatt-hour which is six grams less than the same period last year.

(China Daily August 1, 2006)

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