Electricity in China
Until the mid-nineties the Chinese government provided all of the electricity in China. This has since changed as the industry was opened up to private competition. That being said there are currently eleven companies that provide almost all of the electricity in China and the government is a major share holder in all of them. Nevertheless the electricity industry in China is very strong as the country has ample resources to meet its needs.
Currently China is the world's second largest user of electricity. The vast majority of this comes from coal as the country has very large coal reserves. There are however a couple of issues with using coal as a power source. The first is that the coal fields are located a long way from the areas where the electricity is needed and the infrastructure to move it is not the best. The other issue with coal is the massive amounts of pollution that it is causing. Because of these issues attempts are being made to generate power in other ways.
The biggest change to the way that China generates electricity over the last few years has been the massive increase in the use of hydroelectric power. The country has lots of rivers that can be used to produce power and they are starting to take advantage of them. Massive projects like the Three Gorges Dam have greatly increased the power generation but have also required the relocation of thousands of people. The use of Hydroelectricity faces the same issue as coal does in that the rivers where the power is produced are a long way from where the people who need the electricity are. While work has been done on the long distance transmission of power in China it is still a problem with a considerable loss in voltage when it is transmitted long distances.
Because of the issues with transmitting electricity long distances China is looking for ways to generate power in the areas where people are actually living. The option that they have chosen is nuclear power. Currently the amount of nuclear power that is produced in China is quite low but a number of new reactors are currently being built. The goal is to double the amount of nuclear power that is produced in the country every decade for the next several decades.
While China has ample electricity to meet its needs there are some issues with power shortages. In part this is down to regional issues, the areas where the power is needed are far from where it is produced. It is also partly the result of uneven development, some areas have been left behind in China's economic growth. However the biggest problem is that the government puts caps on the price of electricity,as a result there is little incentive to conserve it and a lot gets wasted.