* Total generating capacity seen overtaking U.S. this yr
* Power shortages to persist in 2012 as new capacity lags
* Power use to rise by about 9 pct versus 11 pct in 2011
* Prices of coal to remain high
BEIJING, Jan 16 (Reuters) - China’s new installed power generation capacity this year will be the least since 2006, straining electricity supplies with power consumption expected to grow by about 9 percent, China Energy News reported on Monday.
Citing the China Electric Council, a lobby group of the country’s top power providers including Huaneng Power International Inc and Datang International Power Generation Co Ltd , the report said China would bring 10 gigawatt (GW) less new capacity online this year than in 2011.
It said consumpton in the world’s No.2 power market was likely to hit 5,130 billion kilowatt hours (kwh) this year. That compares with 4,692.8 billion kwh consumed last year, up 11.7 percent over 2010 as reported by the National Energy Administration on Sunday.
“We’re expecting tight power supplies in some regions this year as the investment abilities of power companies decreases ... and other factors such as tight coal supply and the prospect of low rainfall limiting hydropower output,” the reported quoted an industry executive as saying.
Prices for coal, which fuels about three quarters of China’s total power capacity, would stay at high levels because of transportation constraints and industry consolidation.
The paper, run by the People’s Daily, said China would have total installed generating capacity of about 1,140 gigawatts (GW) by the end of this year, surpassing the United States. Of the total, thermal power would make up 810 GW or 71 percent, hydropower 250 GW or 22 percent, and nuclear 14.77 GW - about 1.3 percent.
Wind power connected to grids would reach 59 GW, or about 5 percent of the total, the paper said. (Reporting by Chen Aizhu; Editing by Chris Lewis)