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Lesson from Power Thirst

China's shortage of power supply is not necessarily a handicap, according to an article in South China News of the People's Daily. An excerpt follows:

As summer lingers, electrical shortages have become a hot topic of conversation around the country. It is now a threat worrying the government, enterprises, and the general public.

However, the electricity shortage can also be seen as an opportunity when viewed from another perspective.

It is helpful to establish an energy-saving society in this country. Statistics show China consumes primary fuel equal to 1.48 billion tons of standard coal every year. This makes our country the world's second largest energy consumer, trailing only the United States.

Calculated together with the economic output, China's energy consumption is 11.5 times that of Japan, 4.3 times that of the United States and 3.3 times that of Canada.

As more provinces take measures to limit electricity consumption, awareness of using electricity more wisely is becoming widespread.

Meanwhile, to narrow the gap between the demand and supply of electricity, non-traditional ways to generate electricity are being exploited, including nuclear power, wind power and tidal energy.

Power demand side management, an advanced power management method urging power users to better utilize energy, will also help improve the current extensive power usage.

China's shortage of electricity is a good opportunity for the government to restructure the industry and change the model of economic growth.

During the period when electricity was oversupplied, the enterprises with huge energy consumption were almost "indulged" with discounted power costs.

Driven by the shortage of electricity supply, the government decided to limit the energy consumption of these enterprises, which will have a positive influence on improving industrial structure, saving energy and protecting the environment.

It is predictable that when the economy no longer grows in an extensive way and a resource-saving society is really established, China will see a virtuous cycle in energy supply.

In this sense, the current shortage of electricity is an important chance for the further development of China's economy and society.

(China Daily July 27, 2004)

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