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Despite pandemic China increases coal production, has 5,000 coal mines, and a glut of new plants

Posted By Jo Nova On June 19, 2020 @ 4:55 am In Global Warming | Comments Disabled

Due to the pandemic fully eighty percent of China’s economy ground to a halt in February, but even despite that — coal use still grew in China by 0.9% in 2020. Another nine billion more tons of coal was discovered in 79 northern regions. And China has as much coal generation being built or planned as the USA has in total.

The numbers are still the conversation stoppers they always were. Ponder that China uses half the worlds coal. While the USA closed 32 GW of coal plants over the last two years, China added 43 GW just last year.

China has promised a few meaningless deck-chair-type vows which it then ignores anyway. The government vowed to cut the number of coal mines,  as if that matters. It’s just closing the smaller less efficient mines and opening larger ones instead. As it happens, the number of coal mines was 3,373 in 2018 but now China is aiming just to cap it at 5,000.

Talk of reducing coal use is still just a performance for the West. Two years ago China was caught building coal plants that it said it had abandoned.

China outlines coal capacity plan for 2020

Argus media, June 18th

The Chinese government has outlined a plan aiming to make its coal industry more efficient by continuing to reduce “outdated” production capacity, while simultaneously raising capacity in major producing regions.

A batch of “outdated” mines should be shut permanently this year, China’s main economic planning agency NDRC said in a document released today to reduce the number of coal mines to no more than 5,000. This will help raise production at major mines so that they account for more than 96pc of national output this year.

Right at the end we find that even despite the major pandemic crash that is 2020, Chinese coal production is up nearly 1%.

China’s national coal production reached 1.47bn t during January-May, according to the national bureau of statistics, up by 0.9pc from the same period last year.

Do these numbers mean anything?

Surging coal use in China threatens global CO2 goals

Benjamin Storrow, E&E News reporter

 China consumes more than half the world’s coal. Today, it has almost as much new coal generation in planning or construction (206 gigawatts) as the United States has in operation (235 GW at the end of 2019).

But no country matches China’s appetite for new coal. The country added 43 GW of new coal capacity last year, up from 32 GW in 2018, according to Global Energy Monitor. Almost 100 GW is under construction and another 105 GW is either permitted or applying for permits. China permitted nearly 8 GW of new coal plant construction between March 1 and March 18, or more than the 6.3 GW permitted in all of 2019.

By comparison, the United States has retired 32 GW of coal capacity since 2017, according to an E&E News analysis of federal statistics. America last built a coal plant in 2015.

Australia can’t even add one new 2GW coal plant. China effectively added twenty times as much.

A glut of new coal-fired power stations endangers China’s green ambitions

The Economist, May 21st 2020 (paywalled)

China is home to half the world’s coal-fired power stations, the most polluting type of generator. Their share of the country’s electricity market is shrinking as nuclear plants and renewables slowly elbow them off the grid. But Chinese investors and local governments are still keen on them. Last year coal-fired generating capacity expanded in China by 37GW (factoring in plant closures)—more than the amount by which it grew globally.

China has been relaxing curbs on building such plants. That suggests more to come.

How about those Paris agreement pledges?

Coal use was growing at 5 or 6% a year…

China boosts coal mining capacity despite climate pledges

Reuters, From March 2019

BEIJING (Reuters) – China added 194 million tonnes of coal mining capacity in 2018, data from the energy bureau showed on Tuesday, despite vows to eliminate excess capacity in the sector and to reduce fossil fuel consumption.

However, the total amount of coal mines in China declined to 3,373 in 2018 from 3,907 in 2017, the NEA said in the statement, as Beijing has been phasing out small and ineffective coal mines in eastern regions and expanding capacity in the west

China produced 3.55 billion tonnes of coal in 2018, up 5.2 percent from a year ago, while generating 4.979 trillion kilowatt-hours of electricity from coal-fired power plants, up 6 percent from the 2017 level, data from the National Bureau of Statistics showed.

So much for those vows.


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