China is sourcing its energy demand from increasingly diversifed, both geographically and technologically – a welcome change from its “coal-only” approach – but the country has still a long way to go to balance its energy mix.
Take nuclear energy for instance. During the 90s, the country has only 3 reactors in operation – 2 in Daya Bay and 1 in Qinshan. Today, 11 reactors are running with more than 8 Gigawatt (GW) of installed capacity.
In 2006, nuclear energy accounted for 1.1% of electricity production, nothing in comparison with thermal’s 77.8% (of which 68.7% from coal…) or even hydro-power’s 20.7%. But 16 new reactors are under construction (for 15 GW) and 34 more (for 32 GW) are planned till 2020. That will place China at par with the world leader France which currently counts 59 reactors and 63GW – just remember that the Chinese population is 200 times larger.
The good news: the country has pledged a 20% reduction of its energy intensity (energy consumption per unit of GDP) by 2010.