China Sees Power Shortage Easing In 2006

China's chronic power shortages will ease considerably next year and a surplus is expected after 2007, the national planning body said Dec. 30. "2006 will be a turning point for the situation of the country's power demand and supply ... it will be eased considerably," the National Development and Reform Commission said. "After 2007, the shortage situation of power generation across the country will be turned around. Most areas in the country will achieve a balance between demand and supply and there will be some surplus."

Thanks to the installation of new power generators this year, China has increased generating capacity by 60 million kilowatts and its total electricity output is expected to reach 2.4 trillion kilowatt hours. China's total installed capacity surpassed 500 million kilowatts on December 27 with the operation of a new 600,000-kilowatt generator in Zhejiang province. "This is a milestone and a new starting point," the statement said.

China first reported failure to meet power demand in 2000 and the situation has deteriorated steadily since then. Many major power plants have run low on coal supplies due to transport bottlenecks and surging demand stemming from the country's rapid economic growth. China predicts continued strong growth in energy demand for the rest of the decade as the economy keeps expanding.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2006

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