It is quite a challenge to pin down an electricity system that has grown 10.8 percent annually over the last decade, doubled power generation in just 7 years and added 80-90 gigawatts (GW) – the equivalent of the United Kingdom’s entire generating capacity –every year.
Nevertheless, some preliminary year-end statistics recently published by central agencies (NEA, NBS, CNREC) offer an interesting, though imperfect, snapshot of China’s power sector in 2013.
Notably, after a lull in 2012, electricity demand growth recovered last year owing to resurgent industrial demand. Coal retained its share in terms of capacity factor, while wind saw a rise in capacity factors indicating that some measures to improvement integration have had an impact. The “Big Five” state-owned generating companies – which collectively own 47 percent of Chinese generating capacity – made record profits in 2013, and the top electricity regulator was rolled into the top energy policy body in an attempt to streamline oversight.