China faces greater pressure to ensure energy supply in '12

Updated: 2012-01-11 11:07


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BEIJING - China's energy chief said Tuesday that the country is under greater pressure to ensure energy supply this year as both demand and international competition for resources grows.

Liu Tienan, head of the National Energy Administration (NEA), made the remarks when speaking at a national energy work conference.

"It is always worrisome to have to sustain supply of energy and resources for a country with 1.3 billion people," Liu said.

As China is facing a "grim situation" in energy saving and emission reduction, Liu noted, it is urgent to restructure the country's energy use and control the gross consumption volume this year.

To ensure a stable energy supply, China will optimize the layout of energy exploration, start construction of energy-transmission projects and other major energy programs while boosting reserves of oil, natural gas and coal in 2012, Liu said.

The NEA plans to add another 200 metric tons to the country's coal-producing capacity this year plus 70 million kw of new installed power-generating capacity.

If the ecology is protected and people are relocated, China will start construction of hydropower projects of 20 million kw in 2012, according to the NEA.

Once safety is ensured, nuclear power will be developed after the country's new safety plan is approved.

As for renewable energy development, the NEA plans to launch wind power projects with a total capacity between 15 million kw and 18 million kw, while developing 3 million kw of solar power over the new five-year period ending 2015.

Liu said, in 2012, the country aims to provide electricity to another 600,000 people who currently have no access to it and expand electricity access to 5 million people by 2015.

The NEA has budgeted 65 billion yuan ($10.3 billion) for upgrading the grids in rural areas.

Over the next four years, China will facilitate the development of non-conventional natural gas, such as shale gas and coalbed methane by increasing the number of natural gas users by 100 million to 250 million.

A key indicator measuring the economic vitality, power consumption rose 11.7 percent year-on-year to 4.7 trillion kWh in China in 2011. The growth in 2012 is expected to slow to 8.5 percent amid the country's economic slowdown.