Original Articles

Time-spatial Coordination of Energy Supply and Its Effects in West China

  • 1. Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, CAS, Beijing 100101, China;
    2. Graduate University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China

Online published: 2009-05-25


An expanding energy supply system, as a result of the uneven distributions of resources in one hand and demands in the other, is a prevailing trend for nations and regions on the way of modernization. This paper is aimed at a close examination on the interrelationship between growing capacity of energy industry and its spatial effects of energy supply in West China. Such a relationship can be libeled as a time-spatial coordination of regional energy supply. The findings of this paper are salutary. First, they provide that energy supply of West China, one of the most important regions with abundant energy resources in the country, was successfully transformed itself from a lower self-sufficiency type to a highly regional export-led one during the past 50 years. For instance, the self-sufficiency ratio of West China was more than doubled from 70% in 1952 to over 150% in 2005. In the meantime, the average conveyed distance of energy supply of West China was registered from less than 100 km in 1952 to about 550 km in 2005. Secondly, a powerful expansion of the energy supply system in Northwest China was the determined factor in such a transformation. In fact, more than 77% of net energy-export volume in West China was contributed by the Northwest, and to say nothing of the enlargement of energy spatial supply. Thirdly, a large scale of energy exploitation in West China could not bring profits to local economies and social wealth as much as expected due to heavily reliance on the energy-export-led industries, especially coal. Truly, it was evidenced that the growth of GDP per capita in West China was far beyond that of energy production when it became the second largest energy supplier in the country. In 1990,for example, GDP per capita of West China stood at about 72.6% of the country’s average when the region shared  only 8.6% of China’s total energy production. In 2005, however, GDP per capita of West China (at 1952 price) was registered only 52.1% of the national average when its energy output was accounted for 36.7% of the country’s total. Finally, it is, therefore, a reasonable to argue to transfer such a traditional mode of energy supply in West China to a new one addressed on a regional sustainable development in order to avoid the Dutch Disease and the Resource Curse.

Cite this article

ZHANG Lei1, HUANG Yuanxi1,2 . Time-spatial Coordination of Energy Supply and Its Effects in West China[J]. PROGRESS IN GEOGRAPHY, 2009 , 28(3) : 321 -328 . DOI: 10.11820/dlkxjz.2009.03.001


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