China’s Energy Future
China will need a lot of energy in the medium term future. I calculated their consumption at 247 quads in 2030, up from 100 quads last year.
China is working heroically to assure supplies of oil and coal. They are eagerly awaiting completion of Mongolia’s mega-mine, Tavan Tolgoi, as Mongolia is slated to produce 240 million tons of coal a year by 2040. None of that coal is expected to sit on the shelves gathering dust. China will burn it.
China has invested $15 billion in Canadian tar sands projects, happy to snap up the oil that is too dirty for American tastes.
China currently has 14 nuclear power plants, with 27 under construction. They have plans for a further 150 plants, and intend to build about 4 a year until they get to that figure.
China has other needs than energy–fresh water being among them. So China is working to kill two birds with one stone. “China already has half the world’s large HEP dams (25,800), which produce 213 GW of power. And while the west has mostly stopped building dams—the U.S. has only produced 80 GW of HEP in its history—China is forging ahead: Along the Yangtze River and its tributaries, 100 large dams are either being planned or built, and 43 additional dams are in the works for the Lancang (the Upper Mekong), Nu, Hongshui and Jiulong Rivers in China’s southwest.”
China is planning for a big future.
3000 Quads is about energy for the 21st century. The world’s population is now estimated to peak at between 9 and 10 billion people somewhere around 2075. If they use energy at the same rate as the average American, they will consume 3,000 quadrillion btus. That isn’t written in stone–the Danes use half as much energy per person as Americans and they have a pretty good life. The developing world could aim for a Danish lifestyle instead of Yankee over-exuberance. But if it comes to pass, then we face a dilemma. If most of that energy is provided by burning coal, we face something close to disaster. My name is Tom Fuller. I work at a solar power company called Sungevity, a premiere provider of solar power to homeowners in the United States.
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