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Energy demand set to double by 2020
( 2003-11-19 09:52) (China Daily HK Edition)

China's energy demand is likely to more than double in two decades from the current level with the nation's industrialization and urbanization drive, according to a research centre at the National Development and Reform Commission.

Demand is expected to rise to 2.4-3.2 billion tons of standard coal by 2020 from 1.4 billion tons last year, according a report by the Energy Research Centre.

The different demand predictions are calculated under three scenarios which assume different economic development modes, energy structure, efficiency and policies.

The report is part of a long-term research programme by the Development and Research Centre under the State Council, which aims to provide inputs to decision makers who are designing China's first long-term energy policy in nearly half a century.

The report said coal will remain the major source of energy, even though the government is expected to increase the consumption of clean energy such as natural gas and renewable energy.

The demand for coal is expected to reach 2.1-2.9 billion tons by 2020; with the upper limit of the prediction almost twice the production capacity at present.

The report said that oil demand is expected to rise to 450 million tons of oil equivalent by 2020 in all three scenarios.

China now imports one-third of its oil consumption; and if the prediction is realized, it needs to import more than half of its oil consumption by 2020.

Natural gas demand is expected to increase five times to 160 billion cubic metres in 20 years as the government encourages more gas consumption in chemical and power industries and in heating and cooking in homes, restaurants and shops.

As for the power industry, the report expects the production capacity to rise by 29,000-33,000 megawatts annually to meet demand growth.

The hydropower industry is set to experience rapid increase with production expected to grow by 6,300-900 megawatts a year.

The report suggests the government improve the economic configuration by increasing the proportion of service and information industries to reduce the heavy reliance on energy consumption to drive the economy.

"In the long term, energy demand and carbon emission are decided by the economic growth mode," said the report.

With technological advancement and globalization, it is possible for China to boost its economy with efficient consumption of energy - the nation can quadruple its economy with only a doubling of energy consumption.

The report also said the government should make efforts to promote the energy conservation.

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