Heavy manufacturing, steel, and coal-fired power stations to close for 2008 summer Olympics

Here’s one way of making sure the air is tolerable for a major sporting event, from Terra Daily: China is preparing to shut entire sections of heavy manufacturing across swathes of its industrial heartlands in preparation for this year’s summer Olympics, in a determined bid to clean up its key host cities before and during the games, according to Platts, a leading global provider of energy and commodities information.

Sources returning from a visit to China told Platts this week that government officials have quietly let major coal-fired power stations, steel mills and other heavy polluters know that a broad shut-down order will be passed down the line 30 days before the Olympics begin on August 8.

The policy could slow China’s economic growth at a time when world oil markets are already viewing the supply-demand mix with skepticism. With GDP growth of 11.4% in 2007 — China’s fastest growth for 13 years — the country generated an estimated 300,000 barrels per day (b/d) of new oil demand last year, about one-third of total world demand growth.

The International Energy Agency has forecast Chinese demand growth could come in at another 500,000 b/d this year, or a quarter of total world growth. But that forecast could be placed in danger by any unforeseen economic slow downs.

The Chinese industrial and power plants will likely be closed for the 30 days prior to the games and until the Olympics are completed on August 24. Most shutdowns will happen in and near Beijing, and northern China’s Shenyang City, the capacity city of Liaoning province and a co-host city for the Olympics.

The Beijing government is well-known to be determined that the country’s famous pollution problems should not blemish the highest-profile event to be held in China since it fully rejoined the international community in the 1970s.

The likely impact of the closures on China’s economy is unpredictable, but it is likely to be quite substantial. Sources within China estimate that around 13 gigawatts (GW) of electricity production will be closed down — almost half the size of Mexico’s total production capacity….

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