This paper is based primarily on the phenomenon of rapid thermal power development in Inner Mongolia at the end of the 10th five –year Plan Period, take sustainable development as leading thoughts, link the economy, energy and environment organically with the elasticity ratio of energy, research the environmental impact of the thermal power development in Inner Mongolia at the regional level.The national environmental impact assessment (EIA) control of proposed projects is at the project management level, and the thermal power plant projects in Inner Mongolia from 2004 to 2005 had not been planning to carry out an Plan EIA. As the promulgating of the “Environmental impact assessment law of the people’s republic of China” and implementing of “Decision of State Council on the implementation of scientific development view to strengthen environmental protection” and other documents, we are soberly aware of the importance of economic development in harmony with the environment, also felt that the environmental impact assessment at project level is not easy to control the environmental impact of the thermal power plant projects at the regional cluster-style development in Inner Mongolia at the end of the 10th five –year Plan Period.
From the perspective of scientific development view, it should be equal the importance of environmental protection with economic growth, and make comprehensive use of legal, economic, technical and administrative solutions to the necessary environmental problems and ultimately achieve harmonious economic development and environmental protection in the course of human development and progress. By this development view, people should take the environmental impact of economic activity into account initiatively and consider carrying capacity of the environment and resources in different area.However, the cluster-style development of the thermal power plant projects in Inner Mongolia from 2004 to 2005 indicates that the impact to the environment and resources wasn’t considered much in regional economic development, and the environmental impact of the thermal power plant projects was controlled through the environmental impact assessment and the total emission control (TEC) of sulfur dioxide emissions by the state environmental protection administration. Therefore, a series of related issues such as the EIA control level of the thermal power plants proposed in Inner Mongolia from 2004 to 2005, the level of economic development and energy consumption in Inner Mongolia at the end of the 10th five –year Plan Period, and the environmental impact of the thermal power production in Inner Mongolia during the 11th five –year Plan Period, is the necessary questions and the main questions studying of the phenomenon of rapid thermal power development in Inner Mongolia, the answers of these questions can help to research the sustainable development strategy in Inner Mongolia.
The Inner Mongolia is chosen as the case study area in which 60 thermal power projects are proposed to carry out in 2004-2005. This paper collects the relevant data from the EIA statements of these proposed projects, and obtain the data about economic development and energy use from the Inner Mongolia Statistical Yearbook, China Electric Power Yearbook and China's Inner Mongolia Statistical Yearbook during the 10th five –year Plan Period, the research include the following contents :
Firstly, study the current levels of pollutants control, coal consumption and water use and saving in the project EIA of thermal power plant projects. The analyzing results indicate that the total emission control of sulfur dioxide emissions and water consumption control measures are feasible. In the condition of the installed capacity increasing by 3.3×107kW, the amount of SO2 would only increase 8kt/a, even though all of the projects would be carried out. By the means of utilization of the urban water and mine drainage, the amount of fresh water saved would exceed 1×108t/a. However, the environmental impact assessment at project level is the bottom of the decision-making in the “policy-planning-plan-project”,the control and guide capacity to the development of thermal power remained inadequate, with significant limitations.The proposed thermal power projects demand index of the total emission control of sulfur dioxide emissions,of which is lack, and demand considerable water supplies, which will worsen the local problem of lacking of water resource. As a major export region of energy resource, the Inner Mongolia deserves the development in a sustainable manner. The suggestion put forward in the paper is that the Plan EIA should be employed more extensively and taken into the consideration of the index of recycle economy.
Secondly, the paper study the economic development model and the harmony level between the economic and environment. The normal value of elasticity ratio of energy (0.5) is find through investigation of decades of elasticity ratio of energy at home and abroad. Compared the China's energy development during the 10th Five-Year Plan period with the normal value of elasticity ratio of energy, we found the former significantly exceeded the latter. This phenomenon indicates that the China’s economy development depended on energy at a high level, and gave great pressure on the environment and resources. There are objective reasons such as the high-energy industries expanded rapidly, industrial change, residents living energy consumption rapid growth for this phenomenon, but it is undeniable that the rapid growth of China's economy in recent years is based on substantive consumption of energy and raw materials, and the mode of economic growth is still very extensive, and resulted in the energy supply and demand gap widening, energy prices rising and transportation constraints.
Compared the energy development in Inner Mongolia during the 10th Five-Year Plan period with the China's energy development during the same period and the normal value of elasticity ratio of energy, and it can be found that the elasticity ratio of energy production was large, and the elasticity ratio of energy consumption has come down. It shows that the energy production and output was large, so it’s necessary to make energy production plan in reason. It also shows that the energy consumption view in Inner Mongolia has changed and the consumption patterns haschanged fundamentally. Compare Inner Mongolia’s energy consumption by industrial branch with the national energy consumption, it can be found that the proportion of industrial energy consumption is comparatively large, and the proportion of residents living energy consumption is comparatively small, the proportion of manufacturing energy consumption is comparatively small, black metal smelting and rolling processing industry in Inner Mongolia excessively share of the manufacturing sector. And the large proportion of high-energy industries, is not conducive to the regional economic development model upgrade.
It can be found that the main cause of the steady decline in the Inner Mongolia energy consumption is the stable elasticity ratio of thermal power production. However, the thermal power development in Inner Mongolia at the end of the 10th Five-Year Plan Period is rapid, and the proportion of high-energy projects is large in the list of priority investment projects published by the Development Reform Commission in Inner Mongolia. Therefore, a new round of disorderly development of high-energy industries that triggered by the rapid development of thermal power has great possibilities.
Thirdly, the environmental impact and resource pressures bringed with the electricity production is forecasted and discussed in 3 kinds of scene with different speed of thermal power development, and the value of the atmospheric pollutants production and emission, and the coal resources consumption is educed. Through analysis of the environmental impact and the compare of the 3 scenes, it deems that the elasticity ratio of thermal power production should be controlled below 2.5 and downwards to 1.5. According to this kind of development, coal consumption by thermal power production will be 140 million t/a, SO2 emissions will be about 0.7 million t/a, NOX emissions will be about 0.6 million t/a, the volume of energy consumption and pollution discharge in 2008 will increase 40% to 200% than 2004. The value of SO2 emissions from thermal power generation sector is accounted for about 55% of the total, the value of SO2 emissions forecased is 1.37 million t/a, and will overstep the index of the total emission control of sulfur dioxide emissions which is 0.62 million t/a. Such a kind of thermal power generation development remains an unconventional rapid development, there are risks such as re-emergence of high-energy industries and small coal disorderly construction. Therefore, the elasticity ratio of energy consumption should be control strictly to maintain the value of 0.5 reached in 2004. To achieve this goal, we should insist the changing of economic development model, take energy consumption reducing and industrial structure adjusting into account as the development strategic.