China energy consumption seen up 1.4 percent in 2016: Xinhua

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SHANGHAI (Reuters) - China’s total primary energy consumption is expected to have reached 4.36 billion tonnes of coal equivalent in 2016, up 1.4 percent compared to last year, the official Xinhua news agency said on Wednesday, citing the country’s top energy official.

The figure, given by Nur Bekri, director of the country’s National Energy Administration (NEA), is higher than the 0.9 percent growth rate forecast by the NEA earlier this year.

Bekri told a conference that China’s total non-fossil fuel consumption rose to 13.3 percent of the total this year, up 1.3 percentage points compared to 2015.

China, now in the third year of a “war on pollution”, has been trying to cut and clean up coal use, and will aim to raise the ratio to 14.3 percent in 2017, Bekri said.

Years of blistering energy consumption growth have put China’s environment under increasing pressure, but with the economy slowing, China has vowed to switch to less energy-intensive industries and make more efficient use of its resources.

The average annual growth rate in energy consumption had already fallen to 2.3 percent over the 2012-2015 period, down from 6.4 percent in 2005-2012.

China said in its 2016-2020 five-year plan in March that it would aim to keep total energy consumption below 5 billion tonnes of standard coal equivalent by the end of the decade.

It aims to cap coal-fired power capacity at 1,100 gigawatts by the end of 2020, an estimated 55 percent of the country’s total. Coal-fired capacity stood at 960 GW at the end of last year, accounting for about 64 percent of the total.

Reporting by David Stanway; Editing by Eric Meijer