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China’s Production Of Electricity From Coal Surges To Record Levels

May 3, 2017

By Paul Homewood



News from the energy consultants, Platts:



Anyone with doubts about China’s demand for energy including for thermal coal needed to sustain its gigantic economy should cast their eyes over the latest statistics for power generation from Beijing’s National Statistics Bureau.

These data are a treasure trove in terms of revealing trends in China’s energy production and appetite for thermal coal sourced from both inside China and from imports shipped from countries including, Australia, Indonesia and Russia.

One interesting revelation is that China’s production of electricity from coal stayed at elevated levels post the northern hemisphere winter after reaching a high of 423.6 billion kWh in December – and the highest level recorded based on available data going back to January 2010.

December’s record power generation from coal represented a 7% year-on-year increase on China’s coal-fired electricity output of 385.6 billion kWh in December 2015, according to the national statistics bureau.

And electricity production from coal in March 2017 rebounded strongly following the Lunar New Year lull in February, rising 7.7% year on year to 396.1 billion kWh, according to the National Bureau of Statistics data.

This was after double-digit, year-on-year increases in China’s electricity generation from coal of 12.2% in September and 11.9% in October.

The country’s seemingly unquenchable appetite for energy in the form of coal is reflected in prices for the commodity.

They have stayed above $70/mt for the 5,500 kcal/kg NAR grade since September, and escalated to a five-year high in mid-November to $94-$96/mt excluding taxes, according to S&P Global Platts price data.

Coal prices

Part of this rally was fueled by supply restrictions in China, as central government lowered production at domestic coal mines to dampen prices, but robust demand for power from China’s industrial base also played some role.

Imports are important to China’s coastal coal-fired power plants as they provide an alternative fuel source in competition to domestically produced thermal coal, which has developed a volatile price record in recent years.

Some energy market analysts have been quick to write off China’s growth potential as a market for thermal coal exports, advancing the argument that the Asian country is diversifying away from fossil fuels and into other energy sources such as solar and wind.

This argument is somewhat dispelled by another eye-catching development revealed by the data, and that is the disappointing performance of China’s hydro-power industry, from which generation has fallen year on year since September.

Electricity output from China’s hydro-electricity plants contracted by 1.3% in March to 72.5 billion kWh, after a year-on-year rise of 9.2% in March 2016 to 74.7 billion kWh.

China’s generation from hydro-electric plants usually peaks around July each year, and peaked at 123.7 billion kWh in July 2016, and 109.8 billion kWh in July 2015, according to the NBS data.

A lower-than-expected performance of hydro-electric power generation in China this mid-year could set the scene for stronger coal-fired generation in the months to come.


Meanwhile, according to the GWPF, the Financial Times report (behind a paywall):


India’s ageing power stations will miss a government deadline to slash their emissions, the country’s power minister has admitted, as he reiterated the country’s longstanding position that the responsibility for tackling global pollution rests squarely with the west. Stricter standards from the country’s environment ministry, introduced two years ago, gave the country’s mostly state-owned thermal power plants until December this year to cut carbon dioxide, sulphur dioxide and nitrogen oxide emissions and reduce their water use. But Piyush Goyal, the power minister, told the Financial Times that the country’s coal power stations, three-quarters of which are owned by the government, “will take some more time” to upgrade their technology and cut emissions

There should be little surprise at this news, it is a reminder that India will always act in its own interest.

The Indian Government knows that it cannot simply shut down older polluting plant, until it has ample new capacity in place, which inevitably will be more coal.

And all this takes money and time.




All of this might encourage Donald Trump to exit the Paris Treaty, a decision that The Hill reports is becoming more likely, and may be announced this week.

The President has apparently received  legal counsel that to stay in would would give environmentalists a legal argument to prevent Trump from repealing climate regulations like the Clean Power Plan.

The alternative option, of reducing its commitment to reducing greenhouse gases, could run into the problem that the agreement states that a country “may at any time adjust its existing nationally determined contribution with a view to enhancing its level of ambition”.

Although this is not a binding requirement, one can imagine how the Trump administration could be tied up in knots by spurious legal challenges, amply funded by the obscenely funded Green Blob, and facilitated by the Democrats.

  1. May 3, 2017 5:09 pm

    Reblogged this on Climatism and commented:
    CHINA leading the charge in renewable energy update…

  2. markl permalink
    May 3, 2017 5:32 pm

    China, the “new” standard bearer for Global Warming according to the UN. Exempt from CO2 reduction because it’s a “developing country”. Meanwhile world use of fossil fuels continues to increase and the climate continues it’s pause. And ‘they’ accuse people of being conspiracy theorists for suggesting Climate Change is not about temperature or climate but all about the destruction of Capitalism and industry in the West.

  3. May 3, 2017 6:55 pm

    Meanwhile the UK commits economic suicide as it phases out all coal-fired power stations and replaces them with unaffordable and unreliable renewable energy generators.

  4. May 3, 2017 9:13 pm

    O/T @MikeH points us to Nick Hunn blog about smartmeters no updates this year

    From His May 2016 article

     In the past six months, three things have  happened which bring the risk back into focus.  
    #1 We’ve seen the first major grid cyber attack in the Ukraine; 
    #2 smart home owners with Nest thermostats have discovered that firmware updates can stop them operating 
    #3 reports have come in of smart meters in the UK which have stopped working.  

    None of that means our grid is going to be hacked tomorrow, but they all point out 
    that what has been dismissed as impossible 
    may not be quite so difficult as the industry and DECC would like to believe.  

    So @Mikeh he says
    ..Go ahead get a smartmeter, and then it may cause your energy to disconnect at some random moment.

  5. May 3, 2017 9:17 pm

    His list of blogposts

  6. May 4, 2017 7:59 am

    ‘the disappointing performance of China’s hydro-power industry, from which generation has fallen year on year since September.’

    The main variable here is presumably rainfall, unless there are more technical problems than before.

  7. Ex-expat Colin permalink
    May 4, 2017 8:09 am

    The safety critical issue is why I have not taken up an SM installation by Siemens on behalf of First Utility. I cannot confirm that the new meter is partly active or totally passive. If the SM device simply repeats metering to a remote receiver perhaps thats ok. If it controls the meter as regards energy supply from a remote place then that is wrong.

    I’ve not known of batteries lasting 15 years. Am thinking of what battery is in the gas meters that has the magical property of holding charge adequately?

  8. Bitter&twisted permalink
    May 4, 2017 10:26 am

    China is building Coal-fired power stations to provide energy to manufacture windmills and solar panels, which it then sells to the gullible idiots in the West.

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