China May Face 200-Million-Ton Coal Shortfall by 2015, OGP Says

China, the world’s biggest user and producer of coal, may face a shortfall of 200 million metric tons of the fuel by 2015, according to China Oil, Gas & Petrochemicals published by the official Xinhua News Agency.

Coal demand may rise to a record 3.8 billion tons by 2015 as domestic coal output reaches 3.6 billion tons, according to estimates by China OGP in its latest issue. The newsletter didn’t specify where it got the information.

China became a net coal importer for the first time in 2009 after buying 125.8 million tons of the fuel when global prices were lower than the cost of domestic grades. The country’s increased coal consumption last year helped support global demand, which otherwise “would have tanked,” David Price, editor of McCloskey Coal U.K., said in February.

Renewable sources for electricity including hydro, wind, solar and nuclear power are expected to provide energy equivalent to 346 million tons of coal, or 30 percent of total demand, by 2015, China OGP said, citing forecasts by the China Electricity Council. By 2050, coal dependence may fall to between 35 percent and 40 percent of China’s energy mix, it said.

China’s installed power capacity may rise to 1.26 billion kilowatts by 2015, with 68 percent coming from thermal power, 20 percent from hydropower, 2 percent from nuclear, 6 percent from new energy and 4 percent from gas turbine, China OGP said.