Power is a crucial factor in economic growth and quality of life, but building an adequate level of generation capacity has proven difficult for many developing countries. A number of jurisdictions have suffered from years of energy supply shortages, and this inadequacy continues to hinder their development.In the recent past, China’s generation capacity grew at an extraordinary rate, and this has drawn worldwide attention. For example, in 2009, China increased its generation capacity by almost 90 GW - more than the entire current total generation capacity of the United Kingdom.
This note is intended to identify the key entities involved in the dramatic recent expansion of China’s generation capacity, and the legal relationships between those entities, including the legislation and contractual agreements underpinning those legal relationships. The note starts with a brief description of the context in which this growth occurred, and closes with Section V, which comments on particular aspects of the Chinese experience (including the respective roles of the private and public sectors), and Section VI, which offers some ‘lessons learned’ from the development of China’s power sector.