China’s Coal Power Rising Again

By Paul Homewood

h/t Robin Guenier

While Ban Ki-moon has fallen hook, line and sinker for China’s “promise” to be carbon neutral by 2060, others might prefer to wait until they actually see emissions falling.

There is little sign of that happening anytime soon, if the latest electricity stats from China are anything to go by.

Until the summer, COVID had led to a cut in demand for power, which inevitably impacted solely on thermal generation. Power from wind, solar, nuclear and hydro cannot easily be switched on and off, and as their costs are mainly fixed it is logical to maximise their output while cutting back on coal and gas generation, where marginal costs are much higher.

However, in Q3 demand returned to pre-pandemic levels. Indeed, generation is actually up 8% from the same quarter last year.

And as a result we find that about half of this increase has been supplied by thermal generation, which has increased by 3% year on year. Hydro is also up, but this appears mainly to be weather related.

In stark contrast, wind power has actually fallen, while solar is effectively unchanged.

The contribution of wind and solar is still tiny, at less than 5% of total generation.

If that was not bad enough, so far this year, new thermal capacity added has nearly tripled that of wind power.


November 11, 2020 at 08:27AM