Chinese Energy Profile


The People’s Republic of China, always an interesting topic to many. Everyone is talking about it being the world’s factory and all. So I took an interest as always to find out info on them and inform you guys.

Since 1949 its annual growth has been 10% coupled with increase in energy production of the same magnitude. But in 1979 it announced its intention to quadruple industrial and agricultural output by the year 2000 which economic analysts say they managed to do so with success, but for me the concern was if they managed to also do the same in the energy sector? They did not manage to by the same measure increase their energy production and hence the shortage of electricity and the influx of inefficient technologies.

China’s energy economy is quite unique because it relies on coal for almost 70% of its commercial energy, and has very high energy intensity. A large proportion of oil is consumed by direct burning and diesel oil is used more than oil by reasons mention in the articles on the transport series. Today I will not dwell on the health effects this has had on the atmosphere and the environment of that country and globally.


Current consumption trends:

Domestic: energy technologies are fast advancing at the stage though close to 85% of the rural population still use non-commercial energy sources like human and crop waste. The domestic sector alone consumes 10% of the electricity generated which is very low but justified by the size of their industries. This can be compared to Denmark’s 12% and Zimbabwe’s 47% imagine.

Agriculture: people and animals still supply the bulk of the energy, chemical fertilizers 42-86% of the commercial energy used. Irrigation and drainage consume about a third of the electricity supplied to the rural areas and the figure is still growing.

Industry: this sector consumes 51% of the electricity produced and 75% of the oil used in China. All this is mostly being provided by mainly coal where generation efficiency is low and transmission losses are high. Zimbabwe’s industry is said to consume 11% of electricity generated at the moment.

Transport: with railway having the largest share in consumption, this sector accounts for 7% of the electricity consumed. Hence to curb its huge electricity consumption they have vigorously been introducing the electric locomotives which are more efficient and reduce the number of people using their personal cars. Denmark and Zimbabwe transportation sector account for 62 and 15% respectively.

China’s mineral wealth.

China produces 4 073 000 barrels/day which means its #5 after Saudi Arabia, Russia, USA &Iran. It is ranked 4th in the production of Natural Gas production at 3.63 trillion cubic feet. It also is the largest producer of coal at 3.74 billion tones, funny that 5 years ago they were producing less than a billion tones. This means they have done considerably well in the past 5 years. Coal has an energy content of 20 million BTU’s a ton, now compared to 5.8 million BTU’s/barrel of oil and 1 000 BTU’s/cubic feet of natural gas, China is in the top spot in the world for producing the most amount of energy. They get that way because of their vast production of coal. They are way down the list on oil and natural gas, but when it comes to coal, there’s nobody even close. America used to hold the top spot until just about three years ago, about 2010.


China passed them with their coal production that vaulted them into the number one spot but before that, the US was number one, and produced more energy than any other country on the planet and yet it still wasn’t enough. Therefore with the increase in production there is an increase in demand and China has a lot of coal and that is their only way out. We all know what coal does to our environment and i’m also looking at what China is doing to lessen the effects of their industrial processes.

 Next week we will be taking a look at its energy production profile and the efforts they have made to ease the power crisis. Maybe I will also look at their efficiency strategies and the effect on the global atmosphere. For your views and comments, the author can be contacted on or drop your contribution on the comment box below.

Thank you

“Making plans f…

“Making plans for 1 year, we plant rice.
Making plans for 10 years, we plant trees.
Making plans for 100 years, we prepare people.”

The Theme of the day was, “What Zimbabweans are doing to create Sustainable Communities.” thank you to all those who came out in support.