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China’s Power Demand Growth May Slow to 9% This Year, NEA Says

China, the world’s biggest energy user, may cut power consumption growth this year as government measures to cool the economy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions damp demand, the National Energy Administration said.

Electricity use may rise 9 percent to 4.5 trillion kilowatt-hours, slowing from a 15 percent gain in 2010, according to an NEA statement handed out to reporters at a briefing in Beijing today.

China’s economic growth may slow to 8.7 percent this year after a 10.3 percent gain in 2010, which was the fastest pace in three years, according to a World Bank estimate. Supply of coal, which fuels more than 70 percent of the country’s power stations, may exceed consumption this year, the NEA said.

As energy consumption growth slows, balancing domestic supply and demand “shouldn’t be a problem,” Wang Siqiang, a deputy director at NEA, said at the briefing.

China may add 80 gigawatts of power generation capacity this year, bringing total capacity to 1,040 gigawatts, according to data from the NEA statement.

By the end of 2011, hydropower capacity may reach 220 gigawatts and nuclear power capacity may total 11.74 gigawatts. More than 14 gigawatts of windpower and 500 megawatts of solar capacity may be added this year, according to the NEA.

China’s power generation capacity reached 960 gigawatts at the end of 2010, including 700 gigawatts of thermal power capacity, 210 gigawatts of hydropower, 10.8 gigawatts of nuclear power and 31.07 gigawatts of windpower, the NEA said.

Demand for natural gas may rise to 130 billion cubic meters this year from 110 billion in 2010 as pipeline coverage expands, NEA said. China’s gas production may increase 16 percent to 110 billion cubic meters, it said.

Last year, Premier Wen Jiabao’s government ordered six increases in bank reserve requirements and boosted interest rates twice to cool the economy.

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