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Electricity use is expected to peak in August
Date:2011/8/1      View:1275
China is expected to see summer energy use peak in August, which will impose greater pressure on the country's already tight power supply.

A previous electricity shortfall has eased to some extent since June, partly because of increased levels of hydropower coming on line because of abundant rainfall in major areas, said Jia Fusheng, a senior official at the Bureau of Economic Operations Adjustment under the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC).

Daily average hydropower capacity has recovered from a sharp reduction caused by a long-lasting drought, hitting 2.2 billion kilowatt-hours (kWh) in June, a rise of 34.2 percent from a month earlier.

"The electricity supply has been relatively stable this summer, but the situation is far from optimistic as the peak summer electricity use approaches," Jia said at a news briefing on Friday.

With rising temperatures in most areas, the peak burden will be the result of increased use of air-conditioning, and is predicted to hit 180 million kilowatts nationwide this summer, up 12.5 percent from a year ago, he said.

At the same time, industrial electricity consumption will continue to rise with the steady growth of production.

Industrial electricity consumption rose 11.7 percent year-on-year in the first half, with consumption by the building material industry rising 19.8 percent and that of the steel industry rising 12.5 percent year-on-year.

Policymakers took measures such as rationing power to ensure adequate supplies, especially at hospitals and schools.

Interdistrict power transmission also increased by 20 percent year-on-year in June to ease the insufficient power supplies faced by enterprises in outlying provinces such as Zhejiang.

In early June, the government raised power prices for industry, commerce and agriculture in 15 regions by an average 0.0167 yuan for each kWh, the first rise in retail power prices since 2009.

Besides climate change and reduced hydropower, the energy shortfall also reflects problems caused by imbalances in the economic structure and the unsustainable development modes of some regions, he said.

Energy-guzzling industries, including steel, nonferrous metals, building materials and chemicals accounted for about 45 percent of the industrial power consumption in June, up 0.6 percentage points from a month earlier.

Lin Boqiang, a professor at the China Energy Economy Research Center at Xiamen University, said the nation will see energy consumption peak in August.

"It will be a hard month, with the largest energy shortfall of the year, but it's a seasonal rise and will decline after the summer," he said.

The China Electricity Council (CEC) said on Friday that coal-fired power plants operated by the five major power generators China Huaneng Group, China Datang Corp, China Guodian Corp, China Huadian Corp and China Power Investment Corp - lost 6.65 billion yuan ($1 billion) in the first half of this year, 5.09 billion yuan more than in the same period in 2010.

According to the National Bureau of Statistics, all the coal-fired power plants in the country made a total profit of 7.5 billion yuan, a decline of 52.4 percent year-on-year.

The CEC estimated that China's power consumption may rise 12 percent to 4.7 trillion kWh this year and some regions will still experience power shortages because of high demand and unbalanced grid construction.
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