What did it take to turn the lights on in China: Part 1 of 2

Access to electricity is the key to developing a modern country with the potential to grow a large, consumer driven middle class.  Poverty reduction is also linked to access of electricity, because without electricity people live in the middle ages.

In fact, to reduce poverty,  over the last 50 years China has introduced electricity access to 100% of it’s people.  – World Bank.org

In 1949 when the People’s Republic (PRC) was founded, there were only 33 small hydropower stations in rural China, with a total installed capacity of 3.63 megawatts, and total electricity consumption in rural areas was 20 million kilowatts. Today, there are thousands of hydro-power stations, and the PRC has more than any country on the earth.

China Racing Ahead with Hydro Power

Of the world’s 65 operational hydropower stations with an installed capacity of at least 2,000 MW, China operates 20 (more than 30%).

In 1979, China’s Xinhua state run news agency reported a serious electric power shortage. The agency said China produced about 150,000 million kilowatts of electricity a year and ranked about seventh among the world’s electric energy producers. In fact, China’s output was about one-eighth that of the U.S. back then.  – History of China’s electricity use

In a previous post, China’s Goals to Go Green, we discovered that China now produces more electricity than the U.S., but the U.S. still produces 17.0 metric tons of CO2 emissions for each person in the United States compared to 6.7 metric tons for each person in China.

Imagine what the CO2 pollution would be like in China if the Chinese eventually match the U.S. per capita. – CO2 emissions World Bank data

Part 2 continued on December 16, 2015


Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of My Splendid Concubine [3rd edition]. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the lusty love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

#1 - Joanna Daneman review posted June 19 2014

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