Life Without (Electrical) Power (Part Two)

Posted on Sun 03/21/2010 by



Before you read this, go and read Part One first at this link.


I spoke in Part One of what we are told is a looming ‘catastrophe’ with respect to Climate Change/Global Warming, caused we are told by the emissions of Carbon Dioxide (CO2) mainly from coal fired power plants. I mentioned that some major Governments, instead of ‘saving’ us from this so called catastrophe are instead just seeking to enrich their coffers by opportunistically seeking to pass legislation that will only make them money from it, and then spinning this to make us think that this actually will have some effect in saving us.

I then mentioned that, in order to shift the blame, thus enabling acceptance for their legislation, they point accusingly at China, now the largest emitter on Earth of CO2. Those Governments say that China needs to cease construction of these coal fired power plants that cause these emissions. China is an easy target because of the way people ‘feel’ about China. What further strengthens the argument of those Governments seeking to make money from this to save us from this ‘catastrophe’ is that China is in fact constructing coal fired power plants at what might seem an alarming rate. In fact, China is bringing on line one new large coal fired power plant each week, not just starting construction, but completing construction, and supplying power to the grids in China. The spin however does not tell the truth of the matter, and China can try and actually tell that truth, but perceptions and suspicions regarding China are in fact working in favour of those Western Governments, because, after all, ‘who is ever going to believe what China says‘. Governments will cynically exploit that because the truth IS actually difficult to comprehend.

Imagine this.

You work all day at your job. You come home after work, and you can fill in the blanks as to what happens next at your home.   …  

In general, you will probably have a shower, relax with a coffee, catch up on the news by turning on the computer and looking at the sites you go for your news etc. If both family members work, you’ll probably turn on the air in Summer, or the heat in the colder Months. You’ll wash the clothes and then dry them. If your partner stays at home, then the air or the heat has probably been on for most of the day, so the home is comfortable for all who live in it. The children have come home from school already and have been doing the things they do. You’ll have a hot dinner, the food having come from the refrigerator or freezer where it is kept fresh, and cooked by the oven, stove or microwave. As it gets dark, you’ll turn on the lights. After dinner, you’ll watch some TV, and then go off to bed. In the morning, you’ll wash, have breakfast and then head off to work again.

Everything you have done while at home is totally reliant on the access to electrical power if you think about it, and you take it for granted. It’s just always there.

Imagine life without that access to electrical power. We take it so much for granted, that, because we do have it, we don’t even think about others who do not have that power. In Western World Countries, virtually every home has access to a constant, and reliable source of electrical power.

However, in those Countries around the World that are still developing, nearly every Country we classify as Third World Countries, they do not have electrical power at the residential level. In major cities and some larger cities in those Countries, they do have some access to electricity at a residential level, but outside those areas, electrical power is non existent. There is none.

The same applies in China, and here, you have to look at the scale of the matter. The larger cities do have that power, but outside that, nothing. In fact, it would be quite reasonable to say that almost one billion people have no access whatsoever to electrical power at that residential level. Barely one family in six in China has electrical power connected to their homes. That’s not one house in one street, because in those larger cities, most of them do have power. That is just an average, and here you need to be aware of the total population of China to realise the fact of those numbers.

See now just how difficult that is to comprehend. Because those of us who live in the Western World have that power and take it as a staple of life, it’s hard to actually imagine those others who do not have it.

As an indicator to help explain this, I want you to look at this table. (Click on the image to open it in a new and larger window)

* This might give the impression that China is not the largest emitter of CO2 on the Planet, but keep in mind these are just the emissions from the coal fired power sector, and, overall, China is now the largest emitter of CO2, that being from all sources.

The second column indicates the total electrical power produced from coal fired sources. The third column indicates the total electrical power consumption for those Countries listed. The fourth column indicates the amount of that total consumed in the residential sector, and the percentage of that total directed to the residential sector. The fifth column indicates the amount of coal burned in those Countries, and keep in mind that for each ton of coal being burned, an amount of 2.86 tons of CO2 is being emitted, and the explanation for that is at this link. The sixth column indicates the amount of CO2 emitted from those coal fired plants, keeping in mind that these totals are just for coal fired power. There are also large amounts of CO2 being emitted from other electrical generating processes as well, mainly from those plants using Natural Gas, which on an equivalent basis emits 35 to 40% of the CO2 as for coal fired plants.

The figures there for the U.S. and also for Australia are accurate, as at December 2009. For China, they are as accurate as can be obtained, and the same applies for the whole of World figures. Up to the minute stats for most Countries on Earth are almost impossible to come by. For those figures from China, I have used the China Power Portal, and also the huge Energy Information Administration‘s (EIA)database. This is their Yearly outlook, as opposed to the current Three Monthly outlook at this link, which details stats up to the period ending December 2009. For those wishing to check that I’m not just making this up as I go, this link will take you to a chart from the EIA that does give stats accurate to 2006. Be fully aware if you download that link that is is a monstrously huge XL spread sheet, and unless you understand electrical stats, may look to be quite meaningless. For China, I have extrapolated those figures out for the remaining four years.  To do this, I have used a conservative multiplier of an 11% increase for each ensuing year, and in fact China currently states at that China Power Portal that it is increasing currently at a rate of close to 15%, so the figures I have here are conservative in nature. As small as that China Power Portal might look at the first page linked to, also be aware that it is a huge database as well.

Now, you may think it a little odd that I have included stats for Australia, which is one of the lesser producers, having such a relatively small population, and while those figures may give relevance to our Australian readers here, it does however provide a stark example of the point I am trying to make with respect to China.

In that second column, I have the actual percentage of power produced from coal fired sources. The World Average is 87%. For the U.S. it currently stands at close to 44%, half of the World average, and in fact probably contributing to driving that World average down slightly. For Australia, the average is 85%, slightly lower than the World average. but still quite high by context. In China however, it is interesting to see that their total from coal is only 62%, significantly lower than the World Average.

China has the World’s largest percentage of power coming from Hydro electric sources, at 22%, and when you consider the total, that is very high indeed, considering Australia’s hydro percentage is 5% and for the U.S. their hydro contribution is just under 7%. That total actual power delivered from Hydro in China is 3.5 times greater than actual power delivered from all Hydro in the U.S. That actual power delivered by Hydro in China is in fact nearly three times greater than ALL the power consumed in Australia from every source. So, when looking at China delivering CO2 free electrical power, they in fact lead the World. For just one example of China Hydro take this link to a 4 part series on The Three Gorges Hydro Scheme. This one large hydro power scheme supplies the equivalent power produced from 12 large coal fired power plants, or for perspective, 83% of all the power consumed in the whole of Australia, generated from every source.

However, the whole crux of the point I am trying to make is in the column detailing residential power. Notice how China is currently producing just less total power than the U.S. and considering the population is 4.3 times greater. In China, as they Industrialise their Country, 80% of all the power being generated is directed to that Industrial sector, while in the U.S. and in Australia, that total being directed to the Industrial sector is 24%. In China, 10% of the total is then directed to the Commerce sector, while in the U.S. and Australia, that percentage for the Commerce sector is 37%.

That leaves the residential sector. In the U.S. and Australia, that percentage of the total power is 38%, while in China, only 10% of all power goes to that residential sector. Now look at the total power delivered. In China, their 10% amounts to 370 Billion KWH. This is only one quarter of the amount in the U.S. and China has 4.3 times the population.

In fact it is only just under four times the total power that is delivered to ALL Australian residents, and China’s population is 61 times greater than Australia’s.

This makes it starkly obvious that the people living in China must be doing without power, and in fact that figure of one family in six having power is probably very conservative, as is the one billion people who have no access to power whatsoever.

So, even though China is bringing on line one new large coal fired power plant each week, they are not doing it to thumb their nose at the World at an environmental level. They are doing it so that, as a by product, of industrialisation, the people are actually getting connected to electrical power at that residential level.

Then, think about this. Coal fired plants are the quickest to come on line from construction to power delivery, the fuel, the coal, is still relatively cheap, and that power is then made available to more people as they then start to construct the infrastructure to bring that power to their vast populace. Also, while China is constructing these large coal fired power plants, they are nearly 20 years ahead of us in that Western World, where coal fired power has fallen out of favour to the point that virtually no new coal fired plant is even considered. These new Chinese plants are smaller, deliver more power, burn less coal, emit less CO2 and are technologically a quantum level better than existing coal fired plants in the Western World.

So, while here in the U.S. and Australia, Governments legislate to introduce a cost on emissions, saying that this will marginally bring down those emissions, while China constructs around 50 new plants a year, that CO2 emissions total will be increasing, no matter what.

Also, having those statistics there for Australia highlights another thing. Look in that last column there, at the stats for CO2 emissions. Note that figure for Australia, 260 Million tons of CO2 being emitted from every coal fired power plant in Australia. While the U.S. tries to introduce their Cap and Trade Legislation, be it Waxman Markey, Boxer Kerry, or whatever new entity they may call it, the same applies here in Australia with the quaintly named Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme that the current Labor Government is desperately trying to pass into legislation. While Prime Minister Rudd and Environment Minister Penny Wong spin their spin about how this legislation will go part of the way to averting this so called ‘catastrophe’, China will be bringing those new plants on line. In one year, at the current rate of construction, the extra CO2 emissions from those new coal fired plants in China will be two to three times the total emissions from all the coal fired power plants in Australia, every single one of them.

The same situation as applies for China also applies on a lesser scale in India, and also in other Third World Countries, as those new technology coal fired power plants get constructed at an alarming rate, or so it might seem.

Governments will point at that rapid construction of these plants and spin their language to say that they are the major cause of the problem. However, what they are not telling you is the actual truth of the matter.


Because, if they were to tell you truth, then that legislation to make money from their own captive targets will be seen for exactly what it is. They are doing nothing tangible except making huge pots of money from a target that just cannot protest, because in protesting, they then look like environmental vandals. Those Governments will then use China as a convenient excuse, playing on existing perceptions of China, without telling you the whole truth.


In Part Three, I will show how those Governments are not the only ones to blame. The United Nations, that erstwhile body supposedly started to look after those people and Countries who have no voice is also ‘literally’ cashing in on this scam plan to save us all from the ‘catastrophe’, and as loudly as they complained at Copenhagen, the problem was entirely one of their own making.

Link to Part Three


For the electrical power information used in the above table, that information was gleaned from sources detailing actual statistics. There will be some people who might refer to entries in Wikipedia for information, where some statistics will obviously disagree with those I have in that table. To those people I suggest that entries at that source are skewed to agree with an environmental agenda. This is mainly with respect to statistics from China. As I suggested, actual up to date stats for China are difficult to obtain, even if you know exactly what to look for, and where to look in the first place. Stats at Wikipedia for China are wildly inaccurate, and are used with an incorrect context.