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Coal power on the rise: Will China end up selling electricity to Germany?

Get a load of this.  China has been adding a new idle coal fired plant nearly every week. It is building 368 coal fired plants and planning a further 803. The Greens think the Chinese have over capitalized, made a bubble, and have built a bunch of white elephants (maybe they have). But Germany has crippled its electrical generators in order to make the weather cooler, and pays exorbitant prices per kilowatt hour that are driving businesses overseas. Merkel is still trying to get solar power to work in a land where the only thing that will make the current panels economic is if the Earth changes its orbital tilt.

Well say hello to the savvy Chinese investors who may be able to solve both problems. It seems hard to believe but all that surplus energy might just find its way to Germany. With new ultra hot coal power there is talk they can produce electricity so incredibly cheap they can send it on ultra high voltage lines all the way to Berlin. Barking? They’ll probably earn carbon credits for doing it too.

Coal’s future burns bright — Graham Lloyd

Greenpeace likes to think that China’s future coal plant projections are the result of “dysfunctional planning systems and cheap credit’’.

But there is another possibility highlighted by Britain’s Financial Times: that is, that China’s proposed investment in long-­distance, ultra-high voltage power transmission lines will pave the way for power exports from China to as far away as Germany.

Liu Zhenya, chairman of State Grid, told reporters that wind and thermal power produced in Xinjiang could reach Germany at half the present cost of electricity there.

… the World Coal Association maintains new high-­efficiency coal technology will deliver power at half the cost of gas and one-fifth the price of wind in Asian countries in the future.

China looks to export surplus energy to Germany — Financial Times

Talk of exporting power is a reversal for China, which as recently as 2004 suffered rolling blackouts across its manufacturing heartland. But huge investments in power in the decade since, and the construction of a number of dams, nuclear reactors and coal-fired plants due to begin operating in the next 10 years, mean the country faces a growing surplus.

The distance from the edge of China to Berlin is apparently only 600km further than across China to Shanghai. And China has nuclear power, many hydroelectric dams, and also other markets along the way — like Pakistan and India. They have 32 nuclear power plants in operation, 22 under construction, more about to start, and even more in the planning stage.

China is happy to pay lip-service to the Paris Climate Deal — it doesn’t have to do anything different for 15 years when population growth meant it was going to slow emissions then anyway. Meanwhile the Paris deal hobbles competition, and tosses money at China to shift from older, higher emissions power to newer cleaner styles.

H/t David

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