autobloggreen reports that China’s electricity consumption was up 12.2% so far this year vs. the same period for last year.  This data is from China’s National Energy Administration (NEA).

It’s estimated that China consumed nearly 2.69 trillion kilowatt-hours (kWh) of electricity in the first seven months of 2011. In July alone, electricity consumption was up a staggering 11.8 percent year-over-year, coming in at 434.9 billion kWh, according to the NEA.

With consumption of electricity rising rapidly, some analysts doubt China’s grid could support an influx of plug-in vehicles and, with the vast majority of the nation’s energy coming from coal, we’d question whether plug-in vehicles should even play a role in the moving forward of one of the world’s oldest civilizations. 

The Asia Sentinel reports that the demand for electricity is exceeding supply and that rationing is expected in as many as 10 major areas between now and September.

Chinese state-owned media have reported that as many as 24,000 industrial businesses in the Shanghai area have been told that they face mandatory power cuts. In Zhejiang province, some factories have switched to diesel powered generators, despite the fact that diesel power costs are double those of the commercial grid, adding to production costs and to pollution.

This publication also highlights that imported coal prices have been soaring upwards – partly because China is buying so much of it. China now uses 46 percent of the world’s coal.



The above map illustrates how much China is coal dependent for electricity generation and shows that moving to electric vehicles will not reduce CO2 reductions, to the chagrin of environmentalists.

As autobloggreen points out:

We have here another study that points to the fact that widespread adoption of electric vehicles (EV) could actually increase greenhouse-gas emissions rather than reduce them as we had hoped. This study, conducted by the Argonne National Labroratory and China’s Tsinghua University, specifically focuses on China and concludes that mass EV adoption could lead to tremendously higher emissions of carbon dioxide, nitrogen oxide and sulfur dioxide due to the country’s widespread use of coal as a power source. Here’s the skinny from the study:

  • China currently utilizes Euro III emission standards throughout much of the nation, though Euro IV is in use in some larger cities and will slowly replace the older standard within ten years. If charged by the current coal-heavy electrical mix displayed in the table above, EVs would double the nitrogen oxide emissions of Euro III gasoline vehicles.
  • EVs will not reduce carbon dioxide emissions in China unless coal technologies are improved upon or a shift towards cleaner power generation occurs in the future.
  • Mass adoption of EVs in China will cause sulfur dioxide emissions to increase by three to ten times the current level. Even advanced technologies such as coal washing cannot reduce sulfur dioxide emissions of EVs down to gasoline-powered vehicle levels.

While this study takes into account the emissions created while generating electricity for EVs, it fails to include the emissions created by extracting, transporting and refining crude oil, which actually makes the comparison between emissions from EVs and gasoline-powered vehicles unfair from the get-go, right?



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1 Comment on China’s Electricity Consumption Soaring and EVs Will Only Increase CO2 Emissions

  1. Elroy Jetson says:

    Looks as if the obvious solution is to promote nuclear power generation. Nuke is the new green.