Power Sector Changes in China
China’s ambitions to create cleaner energy sources and to improve air and water quality are starting to have an impact on the entire power sector. Driven by the Chinese government’s hopes to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and to secure energy independence, the energy equipment supply scenario is more diverse and dynamic than at any other time in the country’s history.
China remains a huge consumer of coal to produce power, but today there are clearer examples of other sources of energy gaining a foothold in the marketplace. Throughout China, different ways of satisfying the country’s thirst for energy are becoming more apparent.
One of the more obvious examples is the West to East Gas Pipeline Project (WEPP) transporting natural gas to gasfired powered plants. It is predicted that this will increase natural gas usage in China at the expense of coal.
Evidence of the importance of gas has been demonstrated, in particular, by China National Offshore Oil Corp. (CNOOC), which is one of the largest state-owned oil companies and a leader in the country’s liquefied natural gas (LNG) industry.
CNOOC has built four LNG receiving terminals in the Provinces of Guangdong, Zhejiang and Fujian as well as Shanghai, China, and this year announced it had signed an agreement with BG Group for LNG from the latter’s Queensland Curtis LNG operation in Australia. In May 2009, the Fujian LNG terminal unloaded 150 000 m3 of LNG from Indonesia, marking the start of commercial operation of the site.
As part of the deal, CNOOC will buy 3.6 million tonnes per year of LNG for 20 years from Queensland Curtis, which comes online in 2014. BG and CNOOC will also be part of a consortium to build two LNG ships in China. China, however, remains a country with significant access to diverse renewable and alternative sources of “cleaner” fuel. GE Energy has started providing power for China’s biggest chicken waste biogas energy plant.
Three of GE’s 1 MW JMS320 Jenbacher engines are featured at the Minhe Animal Husbandry project in Shandong Province. The site has an anaerobic digester, taking 300 tonnes of manure and 500 tonnes of wastewater daily, with the resulting biogas delivered to the engines to provide electricity for the complex and for the local grid.
Nuclear power developments are also prominent in China. Westinghouse Electric Co. and its consortium partner The Shaw Group completed the first pour of structural concrete for the “nuclear island” at Haiyang in China. Westinghouse/Shaw is under contract to provide four nuclear plants in China and is in talks over plans for additional sites inland of the Chinese coast.