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Strong Increase In Thermal Power, As Wind & Solar Run Out Of Steam In China

August 5, 2021

By Paul Homewood

The knife through the heart of COP26:




Any prospect that China would play ball at COP26 have surely now vanished with their latest power generation numbers.

Compared to 2019, as last year’s figures were affected by COVID, the first six months of this year show that total generation has risen by 504 TWh, or 7.2%. Three quarters of this increase has come from growing thermal generation, principally coal.

By contrast, wind and solar power have increased by just 96 TWh.

But even more significant are the figures for new wind and solar capacity:



There we hefty increases for both wind and solar in Q4 last year, as work caught up after lockdowns. But so far this year, new capacity added is not even up to the level of 2019 and before. Wind power is of little consequence anyway in China, but there were signs that solar capacity could be ramped up quickly.

However, that was before subsidies were cut. Solar capacity currently stands at 267 GW. On current trends, about another 15 GW might be added this year, which is a tiny amount in comparison.

Meanwhile completed investments in thermal power projects is double that of wind and solar this year:





There is simply no way China will reduce its dependence on fossil fuels anytime soon, and clearly the expectation that renewables would one day take over is now dead in the water.

  1. David Redfern permalink
    August 5, 2021 6:55 pm

    No doubt the greens will blame it all on covid.

    Politicians will begin to row back on promises they know they can’t begin to implement. They’ll be less interested in what the greens are squealing about and the BBC and the media will be ordered to stand down.

    It’ll take some time, but it’s coming.

    • Adam Gallon permalink
      August 7, 2021 7:49 am

      On the contrary, our politicians are doubling down, I’ve seen the same advert on the National Railway Museum’s & the Science & Industry Museum’s Facebook pages, pushing a “Free online event in the run up to COP26”.
      Then there’s the glut of media stories linking every weather event to the Climate Change bogeyman, this resurrection of the AMOC collapse story and the continued push for EVs.

  2. Thomas Carr permalink
    August 5, 2021 6:55 pm

    And we look forward to the day when reliable statistics are established for the economic life span of these green paragons of wind turbines, solar panels and electric car batteries.
    COP 26 is turning out to be a ship of fools.

    • Martin Brumby permalink
      August 6, 2021 9:08 am

      Still, it will be nice to see the 400 strong contingents of Climate Scientists from Equatorial Guinea and from The Democratic Republic of Congo strolling around Glasgow.

      We’ve missed them since Katowice.

  3. Jack Broughton permalink
    August 5, 2021 9:35 pm

    The Chinese are like the little boy in the Andersen story The Emperor’s New Clothes: unfortunately, the UK and some other countries are the emperor.

    They know that CO2 is an inconsequential radiative gas.

  4. August 5, 2021 9:53 pm

    The Chinese have cornered the solar PV market. They’ve done this with cheap energy so they can make the polysilicon raw material used in wafers. And China has more than half the steel production of the world. Again, coal and low cost energy are essential.
    You can be sure that China will argue emissions should be rated on a per capita basis and they’ll also insist they are making the green energy economical for the west (if you ignore the capacity factors, particularly with solar).

    • It doesn't add up... permalink
      August 6, 2021 11:50 am

      China’s per capita emissions already far exceed ours.

  5. August 5, 2021 9:59 pm

    SkyNewsAust is back on Youtube
    Here’s the opening statement : a tough 34mins against Cancel Culture

  6. markl permalink
    August 5, 2021 9:59 pm

    For China the wind and solar installations are nothing more than excuses to make work and manufacturing and have something to show for their CO2 reduction efforts.

  7. Graeme No.3 permalink
    August 5, 2021 10:00 pm

    the figures in that graph add up to more than the total given 540.1 v 504.4).
    That reduces renewables to 17.9%

  8. August 5, 2021 10:23 pm


    If you take the 31.1 decrease in hydro and mistakenly call it a 31.1 increase
    you get 5401.1

    I don’t know where 504.4 comes from

    • August 5, 2021 10:33 pm

      Likewise for their 2020 chart (on linked page)
      but they state the total as 466.5

      my previous typo 540.1 not 4401.1 of course

  9. dave permalink
    August 6, 2021 10:34 am

    “…excuses to make work…”

    As with the perpetual, real-estate construction boom in that country. There is an element of, ‘It does not compute!’ with the Chinese system – ostensibly saving and investing more than half of GDP – for the whole purpose of production is to consume, as much as possible, as soon as possible. Capital investment undertaken year after year with little prospect of solid benefit is a snare.

    In the run-up to COP-26, why do I feel like a housewife saving candle ends while my husband lights a cigarette with a twenty-pound note filched from my handbag?

  10. Gamecock permalink
    August 6, 2021 2:08 pm

    Obama told China at Paris that they didn’t have to do anything. This story isn’t news, it’s just the playing out of what was already expected.


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