Asia is the largest growth area for installed capacity additions
Douglas J. Smith
Increasing demand for electric power in China, India, Japan and Southeast Asia makes Asia the biggest market for the construction of new power plant capacity. It is no coincidence that this year`s POWER-GEN Asia is being held for the first time in India and that each year we sponsor a conference in China. We not only sponsor these two conferences, but our editors are active in organizing the technical programs.
Since Power Engineering International was launched in February 1993, we have been actively involved in coverage of the Asian electric power industry editorially and through the sponsorship of many conferences. In addition, I personally visit Asia a minimum of four times per year. This year alone, I have spent more than 35 days in various Asian countries, visiting the decision-makers in the electric power industry. By the time you read this, I will have just returned from visiting electric utility executives and government leaders in Australia, Vietnam, the Philippines, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia and Singapore.
During my recent trip to China, I met with Mr. Tan Aixing–Department of International Cooperation director general for the People`s Republic of China`s Ministry of Electric Power–who said for the foreseeable future, 26 percent of the new power plants constructed in China will utilize foreign-supplied equipment. Mr. Tan also said for a trial period, regulations will allow 100-percent foreign ownership of build-own-operate projects. Just to keep pace with its economic growth, China must add 90,000 MW of new capacity by the year 2000.
As Enron very well knows, the Indian electric power market is politically risky; and with the recent elections not giving a mandate to any one political party, the future is uncertain. However, India is in the same position as China: It cannot supply all of the capital or equipment required for the anticipated 142,000 MW of new capacity which will be necessary over the next 10 years.
In the opinion of Vishvjeet Kanwarpal–a partner with Asia Consulting Group, New Delhi, India–only 95,000 MW of new capacity will be needed and not the 142,000 MW that is officially quoted. Mr. Kanwarpal said approximately 60 percent should be supplied by independent power producers.
Although the Asian electric power markets are tough, I believe Asia will be the number-one market for our advertisers for the foreseeable future. The market for new capacity is obviously in Asia; but if a company is to be successful, it must have an understanding of the countries it is doing business with, and it must be prepared–and committed–to stay in the race for the long term.
There will be winners and losers in Asia; but this magazine`s parent–PennWell Publishing Co.–is committed to the Asian market, and we intend to be one of the winners.