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China to Build More Coal-fired Power Plants

According to mainland Chinese media, the National Development and Reform Commission, the government’s macroeconomic management agency, held a meeting in September to ensure the supply of coal, pushing the newly added capacity of coal-fired electricity generating units to a total of 165 million for the coming two years. It is widely believed that the main problem is a serious power shortage that will come in the winter and summer of next year.

Coal-fired power generation dominates China’s thermal power generation. According to the official data, as of August this year, coal-fired power accounted for 85.4 percent of the country’s 1.3 billion kilowatts of installed capacity. Coal-fired power is also the most important supporting source in China’s current power system. By the end of 2021, 1.11 billion kilowatts of coal power provided 60 percent of the country’s electricity generation capacity and supported over 70 percent of the peak load of the power grid.

In April last year, to achieve the carbon peaking and carbon neutrality goals, the Chinese authorities proposed the strict control of coal power projects. Many places in China were experiencing power shortages during the winter of 2021. The government had to reverse its policy direction, and approve more coal power projects.

During the summer of this year, extreme high temperatures and dry weather reduced the amount of hydroelectric power generation, further highlighting the role of coal power. From January to August of this year, China approved 31.98 million kilowatts of new coal power projects, a significant increase of 413 percent in approved capacity over the same period last year.

Source: Central News Agency, October 14, 2022