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China’s coal-fired generation strong despite renewables push: Citi

March 31, 2017

By Paul Homewood




According to analysis from Citi, coal power generation in China continues to grow, despite claims to the contrary from official Chinese sources:


China’s coal-fired power generation as a percentage of the total energy mix is on the rise for the second year, despite the push towards renewable capacity additions in the country, Citi analysts said Friday.
The share of thermal power in the generation mix declined to 73% in 2015 from 83% in 2011.
Thermal has since grown to 74% of the mix in 2016 and to 78% in January-February this year, the analysts said.

"Hydropower generation was down 5% year on year in January-February 2017 and that contributed to thermal power growing faster than overall power demand," they said.
A 5% growth in China’s coal-fired power generation would mean an additional consumption of about 65 million mt of coal, with the size of the entire seaborne market at about 850 million mt, the analysts said.
China’s January-February total coal imports have surged 48.5% year on year to 42.61 million mt, according to customs data.
Nuclear and wind — which account for about 4.8% of the mix — and solar, which accounts for less than 1%, are continuing to grow at double-digit percentages, but they are "still a small proportion" of the overall electricity demand balance, the analysts said.
"While the renewables and hydropower have priority over the grid, then all the demand growth above 1% year on year overall power demand growth has to be met through thermal power generation if hydropower does not grow," the analysts noted.
The analysts said they expect the demand outlook for coal to remain strong for at least the early part of this year.


Adding to the riddle is this story today from the South China Morning Post:



At least 3,119 polluters have faked emissions data and even resisted checks from environmental inspectors, the ministry of environment said, summarizing its latest efforts to tackle the smog that often shrouds the north of the country.

Many local governments still “don’t act, or act blindly” to clean up air pollution, the Ministry of Environmental Protection said a statement published on its website.

In one example, the local government in Shijiazhuang in Hebei province still has a “green path” to approve and encourage the installation of new coal furnaces.

The ministry dispatched 260 inspectors in 18 teams to visit 8,500 polluters in the north of the country, most of them factories, mines and heating energy providers.

The inspections were in 18 of the most polluted cities in China, including Beijing, Tianjin and Shijiazhuang from February 15 to March 18.

The problems exposed by the ministry show the challenges ahead for Beijing to clean up the nation’s toxic air, such as cadres who target economic development over clear skies, state-owned enterprises disrespecting local environmental checks and the lack of a systematic legal or administrative approach to curb air pollution.

Many areas in the cities and provinces inspected, which also included Henan, Shandong and Shanxi provinces, have no systems in place to meet government requirements to reduce or shut industrial production on heavily polluted days, the inspections found.

Gu’an, a steel production town south of Beijing only had one anti-pollution plan to cover all companies and industries, rendering it effectively useless, the ministry said.

An economic development zone in Tangshan in Hebei province randomly copied and pasted plans from other regions, even including the wrong place names from other regions in their anti-pollution strategy.

Gujiao and Qingxu county, two coal mines zones in Taiyuan in Shanxi province, are still using plans draw up in 2013, the ministry found.

In many places, air quality control regulations were simply ignored, the ministry said.

A huge number of small manufacturers are operating in Shijiazhuang without any pollution control equipment and pump “black smoke” directly into the atmosphere.

In one village in Xingtai , more than 80 food processing companies were found using primitive gas furnaces, devices emitting polluted air, and none had equipment to control emissions.

Environmental violations among companies were widespread, the ministry found, including at many big state-owned enterprises.


I mentioned just the other day that there are grave doubts whether regional and local governments in China are reporting accurate data to Beijing. While this story specifically relates to pollution, there can be little doubt that the problem is much wider.

Can any data relating to coal use, CO2 emissions etc be relied on?

  1. John F. Hultquist permalink
    March 31, 2017 9:36 pm

    It takes a bunch of towers and panels to equal one new coal facility.
    The question is — Do you want to feel good about green, or do you want to keep your ice cream frozen and the TV on?

  2. tom0mason permalink
    April 1, 2017 2:45 am

    So the Chinese may or may not be telling the truth, err, what’s new?
    New scruts please!
    Sorry, just watching some Orientals play the game of Inscrutable.

  3. Coeur de Lion permalink
    April 1, 2017 8:36 am

    This is their support for the Paris Agreement.

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