With China currently building 21 new nuclear reactors, new reports indicate that the country will nearly triple its nuclear power capacity by 2026 and overtake the United States as the country with the largest generation capacity from nuclear power by that year.
A report from BMI Research says that China's capacity from nuclear power will come close to 100 gigawatts by 2026, as the country aims to reduce its dependence on coal, which is seen as a major polluter that is contributing to a temporary wealth of power generation. In the background, reports indicate that economic growth in China has slowed and may continue to do so with the rate of growth partially dependent on the unknown, namely how President Trump will handle trade polices with China, which he views as a country that has usurped American jobs. With this in mind, some predict that manufacturing will shy away from energy intensive endeavors in the coming years, pulling the need for coal down to under 54 percent of China's energy mix by 2026.
Coal has regional support, but is viewed less enthusiastically by the central government. Furthermore, the BP Energy Outlook 2035 predicts that China's energy demand will grow quickly. As it overtakes the United States in nuclear power generation and continues building nuclear power plants, the BP report says that China's will need to import 23 percent of its energy within the next two decades, up from 15 percent today.
China has export ambitions for its nuclear technology that have preliminary deals or actual contracts truck in 12 countries, including Pakistan, Romania, Argentina, Britain, Iran and Turkey. China General Nuclear Power announced in the beginning or the year that it had completed five nuclear reactor construction projects in 2016, including Units 1 and 2 at Fangchenggang – in January and October – Unit 3 at the Yangjiang station, Unit 4 at Ningde station and Unit 4 at Hongyanhe. The country, says BP, will be responsible for nearly 75 percent of the growth in the nuclear power industry in the coming years.
On a global scale, power generation is expected to rise relative to other energy uses, comprising 47 percent of the energy use by 2035, up from 42 percent in 2017.
With much of that growth predicted to come in the form of natural gas generation, the growth does not bode well for carbon emissions control. BP Energy Outlook 2035 points to a 13 percent rise in carbon emissions from 2015 to 2035. According to the International Energy Agency's 450 Scenario, emissions need to go the other way, falling by 30 percent over the same period, in order for the globe to meet the emissions goals set out in Paris in 2015.
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