Top energy planners are seeking, in the next five years, to raise China's
coal output to an unprecedented level and, at the same time, reduce the number
of large mining disasters.
China's coal output will be between 2.5 billion and 2.6 billion tons in 2010,
as compared with 2.19 billion tons in 2005, according to Guo Yuntao, director of
the China Development Research Centre for the Coal Industry, in an interview
with China Daily.
The growth rate being forecast by the planning team led by Guo is much slower
than in the last five years, when China's coal output rose from about 1.3
billion tons in 2000.
The forecast was based on the belief that the overall economy will become
more energy efficient and that demand is likely to rise significantly only in
the power sector, Guo said.
His centre is drafting China's coal industry development blueprint for the
coming five years, following the national 11th Five-year (2006-10) Social and
Economic Development Plan approved by National People's Congress (NPC) deputies
at its annual session that closed in Beijing on Tuesday.
The team is providing the final touches to their draft before submitting it,
at the end of March, for approval by the National Development and Reform
Commission and the State Council, China's cabinet.
Guo said coal will remain China's fundamental energy source, both for
production and consumption.
In terms of production, coal accounted for 76 per cent of China's energy
needs in 2005, calculated using the Standard Coal Equivalent (SCE) measure.
According to Guo, that level has a chance to climb all the way up to 80 per cent
To satisfy growing domestic energy demands, the country will decrease its
coke exports in the coming years, the planning director said.
China's rapidly growing economy, which is expected to register an annual
growth rate of 7.5 per cent for its gross domestic product (GDP) this year, will
create enormous demand for energy supplies. But the nation's energy conservation
campaign is just beginning, which should mean more energy efficiency.