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China Will Surpass U.S. in Electrical Output by 2012

In a comprehensive report from Hong Kong, The Economist this week says that China will account for 80 percent of the world’s new electrical generating construction this year and will pull abreast of the U.S. in overall generation within two years:

“Capacity added this year alone will exceed the installed total of Brazil, Italy and Britain, and come close to that of Germany and France. By 2012 China should produce more power annually than America, the current leader.”

The report is based on a recent study by Credit Suisse.

Although coal construction continues, the pace will slow, with overall dependence declining from 75 percent to 65 percent. New dams are being built but most of the new capacity will be in wind and nuclear. Wind will climb from 3 to 7 percent and nuclear from 1 to 5 percent.

Equally important, China is rapidly developing a nuclear supply chain. Although the current reactors are being built by Westinghouse, Areva and Russia’s AtomEnergoProm, the Chinese are reverse-engineering and 70 percent of the content of the latest reactors is homemade.

“By 2020, China’s goal is to build advanced reactors entirely by itself, and to export its prowess abroad. Chinese firms have already built one reactor in Pakistan, are working on another and plan two more.”

The long article – an excellent summary – also notes that this power construction is allowing China to compete in international manufacturing, even though its wage levels are starting to rise.

“Cheap, reliable electricity is one reason why China remains the preferred destination for manufacturing even as its wages rise above those in such countries as Bangladesh, Indonesia, the Philippines and Vietnam.”

An excellent report, well worth reading.

Read more at The Economist

William Tucker

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