February 1, 2018 / 10:30 AM / in a year

UPDATE 1-China's 2018 power usage to rise 5.5 pct on economic growth, pollution curbs -CEC

* Power use to rise on growing economy, air pollution campaign

* New installed power capacity to reach 120 GW in 2018

* Coal-fired power capacity will drop to 53.6 pct (Adds context)

SHANGHAI, Feb 1 (Reuters) - China’s power consumption is expected to rise 5.5 percent in 2018 from the previous year, the China Electricity Council (CEC) said in a statement on Thursday, driven by economic growth and the ongoing coal-to-electricity conversion as part of Beijing’s air pollution campaign.

“Supplies will continue to be sufficient, but there are regional differences and power supplies in northern regions will be slightly tight,” the CEC said.

China has ordered millions of household and industrial plants in its smog-prone regions to replaced their coal-fired heating equipment with natural gas- or electric-powered systems. The project, which has led to natural gas shortages this winter, will continue through 2018 to further curb air pollution.

The CEC expects a total of 120 gigawatts (GW) of new power capacity will be installed in 2018. Of which, 70 GW will come from non-fossil-fuel power plants.

It also forecasts China’s total installed power generation capacity will reach 1,900 GW by the end of 2018. With Beijing’s effort to promote clean energy, coal-fired power capacity will account for 53.6 percent of total power capacity, down 1.5 percentage points compared to 2017.

The world’s second-biggest economy aims to install 200 GW of power generation capacity, with 77 GW from clean energy sectors, by 2020.

Reporting by Ruby Lian in SHANGHAI, Muyu Xu and Josephine Mason in BEIJING; Editing by Richard Pullin and Christian Schmollinger

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