While Macau has historically enjoyed reliable and quality power, their aging power generation and transmission infrastructure along with their every increasing reliance on electricity generated in Mainland China raises growing concern as to the future integrity of power in the administrative region.
The electricity sector in Macau is regulated by its electric power utility company Companhia de Electricidade de Macau (CEM), established in 1972 during the period of Portuguese rule.
With universal access to electricity, Macau in recent years has, fuelled by an impressive growth in apparel exports and a massive rise in gambling-related tourism, experienced an on average annual growth rate in demand for electricity of 8.5%.
While CEM has three aging fossil fuelled power stations, one located on the Macau peninsula and two on Coloane Island, they are only able to deliver 472 MW, representing today a mere 9% of the administrative regions total power requirements. For the remaining 91% of demand, Macau has to rely on imports from the Chinese Mainland.
With a stated policy of not increasing local generation capacity, the recent power outages in April 2015, where over 100,000 customers experienced a loss of supply, clearly highlights the risks to Macau of relying too heavily on the Mainland to keep the lights on - see our Voltage in China Report.
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