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China's Electricity Consumption Increased by 4.5% in 2019

  • Jan 24, 2020
Times of Swaziland

According to the China Electricity Council, total electricity consumption in China rose by 4.5% in 2019. The residential and services sectors have recorded the highest growths with 5.7% and 9.5%, respectively, contributing to over half of the consumption rise. Electricity consumption in the industrial sector increased by 3.1%, contributing to 48% of the consumption growth, and accounted for 68% of the total electricity consumption in China in 2019. Consumption from electricity-intensive branches (chemicals, non-metallic minerals, ferrous and non-ferrous) rose by 2% compared to 2018. Electricity consumption posted a significant increase in western regions (+6.2%), much higher that the one in eastern regions (+3.6%).

At the end of 2019, the installed power generation capacity reached 2,010 GW, spurred by the growth in non-fossil generation capacities. The installed capacity consisted of around 1,200 GW of thermal capacity (+46.5 GW, of which +28.9 GW were coal-fired power plants and 6.3 GW were gas-fired power plants), 360 GW of hydropower (+3.8 GW), 210 GW of grid-connected wind (+25.7 GW), 200 GW of grid-connected solar (+26.8 GW), and nearly 49 GW of nuclear capacity (+4 GW).

Overall, China's power generation rose by 4.7% in 2019, triggered by nuclear power generation (+18%) and renewable power generation (+5.7% for hydropower, +11% for wind and +25% for solar). CO2-free power generation thus accounted for 32.6% of the country's power mix. Thermal power generation grew at a slower pace (+2.4%, with +1.7% for coal-fired power generation).

The China Electricity Council expects power consumption to continue to increase in 2020 (by 4-5%) and non-fossil power capacity to boost installations (87 GW of CO2-free capacity expected in 2020, out of new installations of 120 GW).

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Gary Hilberg's picture
Gary Hilberg on Jan 24, 2020

Very interesting data, the Chinese economy continues to grow which drives power generation use, their grid capacity is about double the US's at 2,000 GW.  Adding 100's of GW of new generation including almost 30 GW of coal and over 50 GW of Wind & Solar.  This scale of growth makes carbon reductions very challenging.  The per capita use of power remains lower than most OECD countries, so difficult to argue that they should produce less carbon.  Notice that this scale of growth in demand is continue in the near future driven by residential usage.  

Matt Chester's picture
Matt Chester on Jan 24, 2020

The per capita number is definitely a metric that needs to be considered-- restricting absolute carbon output, while impactful, is also potentially unduly targeting their economy. These are some of the many challenges that are why international climate agreements are so difficult

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