China, Electricity and the Environment

From Our Own Correspondent: The downside to China’s runaway growth

Category: News article

Topic: Current Affairs

Author: Rupert Wingfield-Hayes

Company: BBC

Year created: 2006

Overall rating: 4 out of 5

This is a good report on the sheer scale of China’s insatiable hunger for electrical power, mostly fueled by coal, and the devastating effects it is having both on China’s environment and its people.

This is from the BBC’s excellent radio series From Our Own Correspondent (podcast freely available, see the article itself for details) where they various BBC reporters around the world do a 5 or so minute report on something that has affected them in their country. These can range from the profound to the comical, and all stops in between.

To give you a feel for how much power China needs they are currently, on average, bringing on one new power station a week.! The article goes on to say:

"This year China will install about 80 gigawatts of new electricity generating capacity" he said, "most of it coal."

“I’m afraid that means nothing to me” I said.

“Well”, he replied “here’s a comparison, if you add up the electricity from all the power stations in Britain, all the coal, gas, nuclear, wind, everything – that comes to about 80 gigawatts. And that’s how much China will add this year

Tags: china coal electricity environment