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November 4, 2019

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Surge in power use highlights strength of economy

China’s electricity consumption in the January-September period pointed to strong economic resilience and potential underpinning increasingly high-quality growth.

The country’s high-tech sectors kept devouring electricity, the environment sector quickly expanded its energy footprint, and the vast central and western regions continued to lead the country in power consumption growth, according to the China Electricity Council, a non-profit industry association.

China’s tertiary industry used 899.4 billion kwh of electricity in the first three quarters of 2019, with a growth rate almost twice that of total electricity consumption.

Sectors including Internet data services, and software and IT services led the growth. Their power consumption surged 38.5 percent and 30 percent, respectively.

A similar rally was found in high-tech manufacturing. From January to September, the power used to manufacture new energy vehicles and urban rail equipment was up over 10 percent year on year.

Energy consumption in high-tech manufacturing sectors continued to show faster growth, indicating growing momentum in China’s economic structure adjustment and industrial upgrading, said CEC official Ye Chun.

Another notable trend was mounting electricity usage in environmental protection enterprises and a drop in energy-intensive ones. For instance, power consumption in the resources recycling sector went up 15.5 percent year on year in the first three quarters.

Shifting power consumption also shows the greater role of renewable energy. CEC data showed electricity used to make photovoltaic equipment and wind turbines surged by 25.7 percent and 14.2 percent, respectively. This would translate into more power generators, hence more renewable energy in the pipeline.

The wax and wane of electricity usage corresponded to China’s efforts to shift away from smokestack industries, said experts.

Efforts in replacing coal and gasoline with electricity contributed to stellar growth in power intake by port shore power systems and electric vehicle charging services, which skyrocketed by 137 percent and 143 percent year on year.

The consumption base further expanded as the country’s vast central and western regions continued to narrow the gap between their power usage and that of affluent coastal areas.


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