Energy Policy, Vol.37, No.7, 2498-2504, 2009
Market-driven energy pricing necessary to ensure China's power supply
China's rapid economic growth has strained its power supply, as manifested for instance by the widespread 2008 power shortage. The cause for this shortage is thought to be the current Chinese energy pricing system, which is mainly government rather than market controlled. Government-regulated price-caps for coal have seriously affected coal supply. At the same time price-caps for electricity supply have caused suspension of power plant operation. As a result, the average operating time of coal-fired power plants declined 50h annually across the nation in the first half of 2008 compared to the previous year, despite clear power shortages. Here, it will be suggested that energy pricing, set by supply and demand may effectively discourage excessive growth in heavy industry, substantially encourage energy conservation and efficiency, and curb the rapid electricity demand in China. It will be argued that a market-oriented electricity pricing mechanism is required for China to secure its future power supply. (C) 2009 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.