China: Upgrade of Energy Consumption Slows Down, Bottleneck of New Energy Development Needs Break Through 12-31-2015

China is expected to consume 4.3 billion tonnes of coal equivalent (tce) in total in 2015, with a year-on-year growth of 0.9%, which is the lowest since 1998; thus the trend of the energy consumption upgrading slowdown is obvious, said Nuer Baikeli, chief of the National Energy Administration, on 29th during the national energy working conference.


Source: Bing


He also said that in terms of the energy market in 2015, the supply is quite stable and the relationship between the supply and demand is quite easy.


It is expected that the total electricity consumption in 2015 will increase by 0.5% year on year; the domestic energy yield would be 3.58 billion tce, with a year on year decrease of 0.5%; the installed electricity capacity would be 1.47 billion kilowatts, with a year-on-year growth of 7.5%; the energy imports would be 700 million tce, among which there are 330 million tonnes of oil and 60 billion cubic meters of natural gas.


The National Energy Administration also mentioned that the situation of the traditional energy  overcapacity has been worsen and the bottleneck of the new energy development has appeared, therefore we have to strengthen the energy consumption, optimize the industrial structure of the energy industry and regulate and control the traditional energy in the future.


Situation of Traditional Energy Overcapacity Worsen


Meanwhile, China’s energy structure has been further optimized. According to Nuer Baikeli, the percentage of the non-fossil energy consumption is expected to be 12%, increased by 0.8% year-on-year; while the percentage of the coal consumption is 64.4%, decreased by 1.7% year on year.


In 2015 in China, there are 8.2 million kilowatts of the nuclear power units have been put into production; 8.8 million kilowatts of the nuclear power units have passed the examination and been approved to start operation.


What’s more, the operating scale of the nuclear power units is 25.5 million kilowatts, the units that has been under construction or has been approved have the capacity of 32.03 million kilowatts; the scale of the nuclear power capacity under construction ranks number 1 around the world.


Until the end of the 2015, the installed capacity of the hydropower plants is expected to reach to 320 million kilowatts, the wind power plants would be 120 million kilowatts, the photovoltaic power generation plants would be 43 million kilowatts, the renewable energy generation would be 480 million kilowatts.


During the period of the 13th Five Year Plan, China’s energy development would be challenged by numerous problems and difficulties. The situation of the traditional energy overcapacity would be worsen, the coal industry may face the situation of long-term overcapacity, and the trend of electricity excess production has been more obvious than ever, according to Nuer Baikeli.


The primary processing capacity is more 700 million tonnes, with less than 70% of the capacity utilization. If we just pursuit the capacity expansion with one-sided emphasis, the situation of the overcapacity would be worsen and worsen in the future.


The trend of the coal industry overcapacity in China is obvious, with the capacity of more than 4 billion tonnes.


As one of the major consumer of the coal, China’s coal-fired power plants also showed the signs of excess. According to Yuan Jiahai, Professor of the School of Economics and Management of North China Electric Power University, there would be 200 million kilowatts excess of the thermal power in the next five years if the local government approved the coal-fired plants construction as before, which would definitely result in the waste of investment.


To prevent overcapacity among the coal and coal-fired power industry, China has to control the scale of the coal-fired power generation, establish the risk pre-warning mechanism for the coal-fired power plants construction, and forbid the construction in the provinces of red or yellow warning signal, according to Nuer Baikeli.


Besides, Nuer Baikeli also mentioned that the country should strictly control the amount of the increased coal capacity and suspend the coal mines project approval in the next 3 years from 2016; it also has to speed up its pace in eliminating the outdated capacity—aims to close down more than 1000 outdated coal mines, with the total capacity of 60 million tonnes. 


Bottleneck of New Energy Development Needs to be Break Through


Nuer Baikeli recalled than during the period of the 12th Five Year Plan, China’s energy growth, which was 3.6% per year, contributed to the 7.8% growth of GDP and the GDP energy consumption decrease of 18.2%.


The installed capacity of the hydropower has increased by 1.4 times, the nuclear power 2.6 times, wind power 4 times, and the solar power 168 times; which have driven the percentage of the non-fossil energy consumption up by 2.6%.


In terms of the energy conservation and environmental production, the standard coal consumption of the thermal power generating units with more than 6 thousand kilowatts capacity increased by 17 gram per kilowatt; the discharge of the sulfur dioxide has decreased by 33%, oxynitride by 35% and the smoke and dust by 39%.


However, the situation of the new energy waste hasn’t improved. According to Nuer Baikeli, both the situations of the waste of the wind power and solar power in Three North areas and the waste of the hydropower in the southwest China have been worsened, in some areas the rate of the curtailment of the wind power have been over 30%, while in the northwest China, the problems of the solar power waste have just appeared.


During the period of the 13th Five Year Plan, the scale of the installed capacity of the hydropower, wind power and photovoltaic power plants would further expand; therefore the renewable energy consumption would face even heavier pressure than before.


According to the H1 statistics released by National Energy Administration, the situation of the wind power waste is yet to be solved, while the problems of the solar power waste have appeared. In the provinces of Xinjiang and Gansu, the problems of the wind power waste and the solar power waste mingled with each other and resulted in the economic losses.


China’s curtailment in wind power is 40 billion kilowatts each year, which caused economic losses of 20 billion yuan. The new energy generating enterprises also suffered losses.


According to a source of Power Construction Corporation of China, serious economic losses were caused by the waste of hydropower in the southwest China, thus he advised the generating enterprises to find new ways to improve the power consumption so as to reduce the losses.


China should push forward the process of formulating and releasing the 13th Five Year Plan for energy development, including the special plans for the electricity and the coal industries, according to Nuer Baikeli.


In terms of the non-fossil energy, the country is intended to increase the installed capacity of the wind power by more than 20 million kilowatts and the photovoltaic power by more than 15 million kilowatts. Besides, it would also firmly propel the construction of a new set of the nuclear power plants among the coastal areas as well as the construction of the CAP1400demostration projects.


A few days ago, the National Energy Administration has released the Methods for the Full Acquisitions of Renewable Energy, aimed to increase the proportion of the clean energy generation and utilization. The official from New Energy Department of the Administration explained that the difficulties of the renewable energy consumption would be solved step by step through policies of regulating and control on generation.


*This article is a translated and re-edited version by CCM. The original article comes from


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