Tag: China

Turkmenistan has started to sell gas to China through the world’s longest natural gas pipeline as it continues to develop an international export market for its vast energy reserves.

Developing countries invested more in renewable energy than their developed counterparts for the first time last year, according to a report commissioned by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP).

Workers fix wires on a wire pole along a road on March 31, 2006 in Beijing, China.Try as it might to outrun market forces, China’s decision to hike electricity prices from June 1 shows that even the mighty mandarins in Beijing cannot ignore basic laws of supply and demand. They finally flinched late on Monday, announcing a roughly 3 percent increase in power prices for non-residential users in a move to combat looming blackouts by stimulating more electricity production and discouraging consumption.

Chinese officials have warned in recent weeks that the country could face power shortages this summer in what would be an embarrassing setback for the world’s largest energy consumer.

But is this a real threat? Or is it just sabre-rattling by power companies keen to secure from the authorities increase in state-controlled electricity prices to compensate for rising world coal costs? It’s probably just talk, but nobody can be quite sure.

With oil firmly over $120 this week, Beijing responded by raising motor fuel prices on Thursday, the second time it has done so in a year.

More significant than the rises, however, is their restraint. The threat of inflation is such that Beijing has kept motor fuels much cheaper than the basket of international crude oils it uses as its reference.

Prices are up roughly 5 per cent at filling stations across the country. That means the cost of taking a truck-load of vegetables from southern China to Beijing has increased by Rmb326 ($50); and your average Beijing taxi driver is paying Rmb13 ($2) extra a day for his fuel, according to calculations by oil analyst He Wei of Bocom International.

Kiran Stacey

Solar panelsAs Italy becomes the latest European government to consider changing its solar subsidies, ministers should pay attention to today’s report into green investment from the Pew Environment Group.

The report looked like good news for European governments. Private investment into renewables in the European region totalled $94.4bn, about $20bn more than in 2009, and more than any other world region.

Germany and Italy both surged, with more than 100 per cent growth in investment in small-scale solar installations.

Kiran Stacey

Manmohan SinghIn the immediate aftermath of the Japanese quake and beginning of the nuclear crisis, we wrote that the responses of the China and India, which are both planning major investment into new nuclear plants, was much more pro-nuclear than that of Western governments.

But now both have changed position. China performed a near U-turn on Wednesday when it abruptly announced a freeze on approvals for planned plants. Two days later, India has similarly changed tack, although in a less dramatic manner, by calling a for a review of the country’s nuclear safety rules.

Kiran Stacey

I wrote on Monday that China and India were pressing ahead with their nuclear building programmes even in the wake of the Japan crisis. Well, no longer, at least for the moment. China has just made an announcement that could have a huge impact on the nuclear industry.

This is from Reuters:

China has suspended approvals for proposed nuclear power plants and is making a comprehensive safety check of atomic plants following Japan’s nuclear crisis, the State Council, or cabinet, said on Wednesday.

Kiran Stacey

Just when you thought you’d heard all the impressive predictions about China in the coming years, BP comes out with another.

In a report released on Wednesday, the energy giant claims that China will be the largest source of oil consumption growth over the next 20 years – increasing consumption to 17.5m barrels per day – overtaking the US as the world’s biggest oil consumer in the process.

According to the report, OECD oil demand peaked in 2005. Global energy consumption will instead be driven by developing countries, which will account for 93 per cent of global energy growth over the next 20 years.

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