China's power consumption to rise 6% in 2023, CEC General 2023-01-20 11:00:33

China's power consumption is likely to increase 6% in 2023, compared with only a 3.6% growth last year, according to a forecast issued by the China Electricity Council on January 19, anticipating the nation's economic growth gets back on track.

"In normal weather conditions, China's power consumption is expected to reach 9,150 TWh in 2023, about a 6% rise from 2022," the report pointed out.

The past year marked the lowest growth of 3.6% in seven years since 2016, due mainly to the economic shock associated with COVID-19 curbs, especially in the second and fourth quarters, the report said.

In 2022, the country consumed 8,640 TWh of electricity, in which the primary, secondary and tertiary industries consumed 114.6 TWh, 5,700.1 TWh and 1,485.9 TWh, marking year-on-year increases of 10.4%, 1.2% and 4.4%, respectively. Residential power consumption rose 13.8% to 1,336.6 TWh.

Weather plays a significant role. In August, the persistent heatwave sent the national average temperature to the highest of the same period since 1961, driving residential power demand to surge 33.5%. In December, the average temperature declined to the lowest in 10 years due to four rounds of cold spells, resulting in a 35% rise year-on-year in the month's residential power consumption.

The country's installed power generation capacity climbed 7.8% year on year to 2,564.1 GW by the end of 2022, according to the report.

The installation last year features a significant green boom with newly-commissioned capacity of non-fossil fuel hitting a record high. In 2022, the country added 200 GW of generating capacity, of which 160 GW were non-fossil energy.

Coal, however, remained the top energy source in the country, which coal-fired power generation accounting for nearly 60% of total generation.

"Coal is still China's prime power source for the time being. In the drier third quarter, coal-based power generation increased 9.2% year on year, playing a significant role in fill the vacuum left by a decline in hydropower," the CEC said.

In 2023, the council expected a new high in newly-added capacity, especially for non-fossil sources. By the end of this year, total capacity is expected to reach 2,810 GW, in which 1,480 GW will be non-fossil, which accounts for 52.5% of total.

This year will also mark the first time that wind and solar capacities, expected to reach 430 GW and 490 GW, respectively, will exceed hydropower, which is expected at 420 GW.

The report listed several swing factors that could affect the country's power supply and demand this year, including precipitations, wind and solar resources, and fuel supply.

At the same time, attentions should be also paid to the equipment risk brought by a lack of investments at loss-making power plants, which may create uncertainties of power supply, it said.

For the whole year of 2023, the CEC expected the country's power supply and demand to be roughly balanced, but during peak demand seasons, some places may face supply tightness, such as the east, central and south in the summer, and the east, central, south and northwest in the winter.

(Writing by Alex Guo  Editing by Harry Huo)
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