Saturday, March 17, 2012

China's energy base seeks transformation

Inner Mongolia is an autonomous region of China, located in the northeast on the border with Mongolia and Russia. It has a population of about 24 million people, predominantly of Han Chinese ethnicity. Inner Mongolia is one of the most resource-rich regions in China, specifically in terms of its coal resource. According to this article, the region has an estimated 700 billion tons of coal reserves and produces more than a quarter of the country's total coal output.

This article notes that China currently "exports" Inner Mongolia's coal to other parts of the country for processing and use. However, the government has plans to make the region an "energy base", which would help them use the resources more efficiently and export higher-value products. The topics in this article relate to  issues raised in both the Coal/Electric Power and Transportation sessions of CEE176F.

Currently, over 60% of the coal from Inner Mongolia is transported over land routes, which is difficult and costly. (In fact, the article mentions the epic September 2010 traffic jam that the Transportation group brought up, and cites these diesel-power coal trucks as a primary cause of the holdup.) Both the central government and the leaders of Inner Mongolia would love to develop processing and generation infrastructure within the region, so they could instead export higher-value products, particularly coal made from diesel. If the authors of this article are correct, we can expect to see higher-value products, and not just raw coal, coming out of Inner Mongolia in the coming years.

No comments:

Post a Comment