[Ferro-Alloys.com] China's electricity consumption this year will increase by 7-8pc from 2020 on stronger domestic activity, according to the latest forecast by the government-backed China electricity council (CEC). China's non-fossil installed capacity could surpass coal-fired capacity this year, it said.
The CEC in February forecast a year-on-year increase in electricity consumption of 6-7pc for 2021, but has revised its outlook upwards to 7-8pc, citing expectations of stronger domestic and overseas economic activity.
Growth in electricity consumption could exceed 8pc this year if high summer temperatures affect large parts of the country for prolonged periods, the CEC said, which would significantly raise air-conditioning demand.
It also noted that the year-on-year increase in the second half of 2021 will be lower than the first half, because of a relatively low base in early 2020 from the impact of Covid-19. China's first quarter power generation rose by a fifth on the year according to the national bureau of statistics, while the country's main supplier, the State Grid Corporation of China, expects second quarter electricity consumption to rise by 9pc on last year. This suggests that Chinese power generation could grow by around 14.3pc on the year in the first half of 2021, slowing to 2.7pc in the second half of the year, assuming an overall annual increase of 8pc is recorded in 2021.
Across the full year, carbon-free generation from nuclear, hydro, wind and solar could rise by around 10pc, or 210TWh to 2,332TWh, according to Argus analysis, based on the government's target to increase installed carbon-free generation capacity to 1.12TW. This would be insufficient to cover all of an 8pc or 590TWh increase in total generation, meaning thermal generation — a majority of which is coal-fired — would also need to grow strongly, potentially by around 380TWh, or 7pc. More than 90pc of this increase in thermal generation could come in the first half of the year.
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