China needs to take measures to encourage more efficient use of electricity and curb environmental pollution from its predominantly coal-fired power stations, the International Energy Agency (IEA) said on July 10. The energy watchdog highlighted the waste of electricity in China and suggested that higher prices reflecting the real costs of power generation could help promote efficiency and reduce the need for new plants.
"Too much electricity is wasted by consumers and by networks, so too many power plants are being built to meet this demand," said the executive director of the IEA, Claude Mandil. China is now the second-biggest consumer of electricity in the world after the U.S., the report said. Every two years, the country adds new capacity the equivalent to total capacity in France or Canada.
The report, titled "China's Power Sector Reforms: Where To Next?", said that 70% of China's energy was generated by coal-fired power stations and urged the Chinese government to adopt clean technology. "Generation performance standards and higher pollution fees would increase the likelihood of cleaner plants being built."
The IEA also suggested that China beef up the power of its power regulator, the State Electricity Regulatory Commission, improve its data collection and take measures to price energy more accurately."Steps can be taken quickly to make power prices more reflective of actual costs, sending strong signals to investors to choose more efficient equipment and fuels, and to consumers to use electrcity more wisely," the report said.
Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2006