Description: China has been, is, and will continue to be a coal-powered economy. The rapid growth of coal demand since 2001 has created deepening strains and bottlenecks that raise questions about supply security. Although China's coal is 'plentiful,' published academic and policy analyses indicate that peak production will likely occur between 2016 and 2029. Given the current economic growth trajectory, domestic production constraints will lead to a coal gap that is not likely to be filled with imports. Urbanization, heavy industry growth, and increasing per-capita consumption are the primary drivers of rising coal usage. In 2006, the power sector, iron and steel, and cement accounted for 71% of coal consumption. Power generation is becoming more efficient, but even extensive roll-out of the highest efficiency units could save only 14% of projected 2025 coal demand. If China follows Japan, steel production would peak by 2015; cement is likely to follow a similar trajectory. A fourth wedge of future coal consumption is likely to come from the burgeoning coal-liquefaction and chemicals industries. New demand from coal-to-liquids and coal-to-chemicals may add 450 million tonnes of coal demand by 2025. Efficient growth among these drivers indicates that China's annual coal demand will reach 4.2 to 4.7 billion tonnes by 2025. Central government support for nuclear and renewable energy has not been able to reduce China's growing dependence on coal for primary energy. Few substitution options exist: offsetting one year of recent coal demand growth would require over 107 billion cubic meters of natural gas, 48 GW of nuclear, or 86 GW of hydropower capacity. While these alternatives will continue to grow, the scale of development using existing technologies will be insufficient to substitute significant coal demand before 2025. The central role of heavy industry in GDP growth and the difficulty of substituting other fuels suggest ...
Date: June 20, 2008
Creator: Aden, Nathaniel T.; Fridley, David G. & Zheng, Nina
Item Type: Refine your search to only Report
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department