Energy consumption gains may be curbed in the fourth quarter after easing up between July 2010 and September 2010, according to the National Energy Administration.

China’s National Energy Administration deputy director Wang Siqiang told Bloomberg that the country plans to close 1,539 small, unsafe coal mines this year and met 88% of this target in September.

Heavy industries used 193.9bn kWh in September, 17% below the previous month’s consumption, and China’s overall electricity demand fell 12% to 349.8bn kWh compared with August this year.

China has been shutting factories and coal mines to help meet the goal of cutting energy consumption per unit of GDP by 20% in the five years ending 2010.

China may also shut 12GW of inefficient power plants this year, according to Wang.