Soaring energy use shocks China

State figures recording China’s massive energy demand growth have prompted industrialized nations to press the country to take action on cutting carbon emissions.

The latest figures show that the country added 102 G of new capacity in 2006, which is more than the entire UK generation portfolio and twice mthat of California, while output rose by 13 per cent to reach 2830 TWh over the same period, according to the State Electricity Regulatory Commission.

However, despite growing calls for action from China over emissions, the government appears determined to resist such pressure with Jiang Yu, a foreign ministry spoke woman, saying: “It must be pointed out that climate change has been caused by the long term historic emissions of developed countries and their high per capita emissions,” effectively pushing responsibility onto the developed industrialised nations.

Although China has acknowledged the seriousness of the climate change issue, it has clearly stated that it would need mtime to restructure its energy sector to put it on a more env ronmentally friendly footing. This would be to avoid inflic ing serious damage to the country’s economy.

In the face of its startling ec nomic growth, huge population and dated industrial infrastructure China faces mounting challenges to curb its rapidly increasing contribution to atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide.

Mitsubushi and AES commence Pakistani plant negotiations

AES and Mitsubishi have been given the go-ahead to open negotiations for at least one $1bn coal-fired power project from Pakistan’s Private Power and Infrastructure board (PPIB).

The agency has issued a letter of interest to both companies as part of a plan to develop one or two 1 GW – 1.2 GW coal-fired power plants. Khalid Rehman, managing director of PPIB, has said: “We probably need both plants.”

The stations are expected to take up to five years to build.

The move comes in response to a growing power demand, threatened shortages and a desire to reduce dependence on oil-fired capacity.

Renewable target increase for Japan

Japan’s trade ministry has drawn up a plan requiring generators to produce 16 TWh of energy from renewable sources by March 2015.

The proposal marks a 31 per cent increase over the previously set target of 12.2 TWh by March 2010.

However, while the existing target equates to just 1.35 per cent of total output, utilities are expected to strongly resist any further increase. “The proposed target is very tough, an it isn’t acceptable,” said Mamoru Muramatsu, general manager for planning at the Federation of Electric Power Companies of Japan, adding: “We don’t even know whether we can meet the [current] requirement.”

Hydropower plans unveiled by Malaysia

Malaysia is planning a massive increase in its hydropower generation over the next decade in an effort to reduce its dependence on gas fired capacity.

The proposals call for hydr electricity to provide 30 per cent of the nation’s capacity in the next ten years, significantly up from the current 5.5 per cent. The move will mean a major shift from the existing portfolio, with gas fired ele tricity accounting for 70.2 per cent of total capacity and coal close to 22 per cent.

Report on Australian energy costs questioned

A recent study which predicts massive hikes in energy costs for Australians by addressing greenhouse gas emissions has been dismissed by a leading academic.

The study to determine the least costly forms of generation in 2030 to meet several potential emission targets for the electricity sector – commissioned by the Energy Supply Association of Australia (ESAA) – finds that zero and low emission technologies are still at least 30 per cent more expensive than conventional generation technologies. For these technologies to form part of Australia’s overall generation portfolio, the study says, a clear financial benefit or signal will be required adding that in any case, additional production costs will be incurred for any and all emission levels below the unconstrained case.

However, Dr Mark Diesendorf, director of the Sustainability Centre in Sydney and senior lecturer at the Institute of Environmental Studies at the University of New South Wales said the study relies on absurd assumptions.

He said: “The Stern Report confirms that doing nothing of substance about human induced climate change is not an option,” adding that assumptions of a very limited role for efficient energy use and a very high growth in electricity demand reflect the vested interests of the association’s members.

News digest

Australia: A bilateral alliance withChina will see the two countries join efforts to develop clean coal technologies. The agreement follows a recent summit between Australian premier John Howard and his Chinese opposite number Wen Jiabao.

Australia: American Superconductor has received an order from Suzlon for a Dynamic VAR system for Australia’s 94.5 MW Hallet wind farm. The D-VAR will be delivered in the second half of 2007 to connect the AGL project to the national grid.

Bangladesh: The caretaker government has announced plans to add 957 MW of capacity to the national grid this year through accelerated construction programmes and refurbishment of existing units. A further 3435 MW of projects are due to commence this year too.

China: A $5.8bn programme to triple installed wind capacity by 2010 has been launched in China. The government has raised its target to 8 GW, up from the previous 5 GW target and a huge increase on the current 2.3 GW installed.

China: The first domestically made 1 GW supercritical coal-fired station has been installed at the Hueneng Yuhan plant in Zhejiang province. Clyde Bergemann supplied the ash handling system and FGD equipment for the plant.

China: Vestas has received a number of orders for wind turbines with a total capacity of 187 MW for two projects in China. Datang Chifeng Saihanba Wind Power and Yilan Longyuan Wind Power have collectively ordered 220 Vestas 850 kW turbines. Commissioning is due to take place by early 2008.

India: ABB has won a $42m contract for the installation of an integratedpower distribution system forIndia’s Karnataka Power Transmission Corp. The SCADAbased system will monitor 830 substations within the state.

Indonesia: Jakarta’s PLN has signed 10 contracts with independent power producing companies (IPPs) for power at up to $0.05/kWh. The contracts, worth $462 m, wil see 423 MW of coal-fired capacity developed by 2010.

Philippines: The government has failed for the fourth times to divest the national electricity transmission system after only one bidder submitted an offer. The government is now considering entering into a negotiated agreement rather than reopen bidding on the 25-year concession to operate Transco.

Vietnam: China Shanghai Corp for Foreign Economic and Technical Cooperation has selected GE to install an OC 4000 distributed control system at the Son Dong thermal power plant in Vietnam.