China doubles down on coal ahead of potential summer blackouts

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epa05153080 (FILE) A file photo dated 07 January 2010 showing mine workers handling large volumes of coal at the Haizhou opencast mine in Fuxin in northeast China’s Liaoning province. Slowing growth in China, rather than an increasing use of renewable energy, will be the main driver of an expected slump in coal consumption over the next two decades, energy giant BP said 10 February 2016. Coal will account for less than 25 per cent of primary energy by 2035, its lowest share since the industrial revolution in the 18th and 19th centuries, the company said in its BP Energy Outlook 2035. ‘The continuing reform of China’s economy towards a more sustainable pattern of growth causes growth in its energy demand to slow sharply – weighing most heavily on global coal, which grows at less than a fifth of the rate seen over the past 20 years,’ said Spencer Dale, BP’s chief economist. Despite recent volatility and plunging oil prices, BP expects strong growth in Asia to push steady expansion of energy demand by an average of 1.4 per cent annually over the next 20 years, or 34 per cent by 2035. EPA/MARK


By Paul Homewood

That’s funny! I thought China was going to build lots of new solar farms!

China plans to accelerate the approval of new coal mines and fast track the construction of already approved mines to support its baseload energy supply during demand spikes, Liang Changxin, an official from the National Energy Administration (NEA), said on Wednesday.

Peak energy demand is expected to exceed 1.36 billion kilowatts this summer, representing a “significant increase on last year”, Liang added.

Some provinces could face power cuts this summer as a result, the NEA official warned.

China’s energy consumption typically spikes in the summer months due to household demand for air conditioning.

This, combined with a related slump in power from hydro sources due to low rainfall, led to a wave of blackouts across southwest China last year.

Officials have repeatedly stressed the role of coal as a “ballast stone” in the energy mix amid a national energy security drive, even as the country attempts to transition toward a greener, renewables-led power system.

A man sifts through dunes of low-grade coal near a coal mine in Ruzhou, Henan province, China November 4, 2021. Picture taken November 4, 2021. REUTERS/Aly Song