A shortage of water is curtailing hydro power, the coal industry and China’s nuclear ambitions, offering wind and solar energy great opportunities, told energy expert Bill Dodson yesterday at the Shanghai Foreign Correspondents Club. In theory.
Again this year, hydropower dams in the southwest are generating power below capacity. Coal mines in the north are unable to operate due to a lack of water. And – to my estimation – aggressive plans to build nuclear plants along the Yangtze and Yellow rivers will have to change due to the lack of water flowing the concourses (and what to do with waste river water in the event of a Fukushima-style event).
The knock-on effects for the energy sector include greater opportunities for growth in the wind and solar power industries, and increased emphasis on energy efficiency, especially in its dreadfully wasteful property sector. However, by 2020 – when China’s energy requirements are set to double from the 2010 level of 1,000-gigawatts – these alternatives will account for less than five percent of the total portfolio for energy generation. China’s big bet to take hydropower from generating its current level of about 20% of the nation’s energy to 25% by 2020 just may not be realized. The abundant sources of water the country has banked on for thousands of years may simply no longer be available in the quantities it has planned for its new and enlarged cities.
- China’s green energy gains from Fukushima – Bill Dodson (chinaherald.net)
- Power outages start to hurt production – Bill Dodson (chinaherald.net)