BEIJING: China should increase coal production and imports and curb exports to ensure ample supplies for power generation, as the country heads for another year of power shortage, the China Electricity Council said.
Coal consumption by power plants will grow some 150 million tonnes in 2012, which requires new coal supplies of more than 300 million tonnes in the domestic market, the council, an association representing power firms, said in a report on its website (www.cec.org.cn).
The government should control the price of coal shipped to power plants, raise electricity prices in a timely manner, approve construction of more coal transport railways and power transmission lines, and deepen power demand management and restructure the economy to help balance the power market, it said.
The council forecast maximum power shortfalls of 30 – 40 gigawatts this year, similar to peak shortfalls of more than 30 GW in 2011.
It estimated that power demand will grow by about 9.5 percent from a year earlier to 5.14 trillion kilowatt hours this year and power generating capacity to increase by 85 GW to 1,140 GW by year-end.
China's power consumption rose 11.7 percent on year to 4.69 trillion kWh in 2011 and it added about 90 GW of generating capacity.
The country overtook Japan as the world's top coal importer for the first time ever last year, importing a record 182.4 million tonnes of the black hydrocarbon, dwarfing Japan's 175.2 million tonnes.
China also exported 14.66 million tonnes of coal last year, mainly to users in Japan, South Korea and Taiwan, Chinese customs data showed.
China is the world's largest coal producer and consumer, and nearly half its production of more than 3.2 billion tonnes is burned by power plants.