Premier-eFinance: China’s frantic drive for more hydropower won’t dent coal its coal demand.

Plans for a massive new hydropower development to increase China’s power capacity by almost half by 2015 will not lessen coal demand sufficiently to cut greenhouse gas emissions and may further damage the country’s ailing river system.
July 12, 2011 - PRLog -- China intends raising installed power capacity by 490 GW to 1,440 GW by 2015. At least 140 GW of the new capacity is to come from hydro power -- equivalent to more than seven Three Gorges hydropower projects and sufficient to power the whole of France, Premier eFinance has learned.

The new hydro project, together with other sources, is expected to cut coal-fired power from 73% of China's generating capacity to 67%  and slow the growth of carbon emissions blamed for climate change and which reached 7.5 billion tons in 2009 and are forecast to rise to as high as 12 billion tons by 2030.
But even a stringent pollution-reduction regime would still see China pump out about 9.7 billion tons of CO2 emissions by 2030 as new coal and other fossil plants also come online.

"You're just playing with the edges," Hayden Bairstow, an analyst with CLSA in Sydney told Premier eFinance, adding that any move away from coal would also be paired with efforts to shut down smaller miners producing lower quality coal, which would then lead to higher imports.

China has said that it intends implementing a coal production cap of 3.8 billion tones by 2015 and has committed to increasing the share of non-fossil fuel energy to 15 percent of total consumption by 2020.

However, few analysts believe that increasing dependence on hydro, nuclear, solar and wind power at such a massive rate is possible.

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