You read yesterday that Joe Biden’s renewable standards are forcing Americans into the dark in the name of stopping “climate change.” At the same time Joe Biden and Democrats are strangling American industry and driving prices of electricity up for homeowners, China is offsetting all America’s emissions cuts by permitting at least two new coal plants each week. The Center for Research on Energy and Clean Air reports that China is accelerating its construction of coal-burning facilities. They write in their Global Energy Monitor:
- Coal power plant permitting, construction starts and new project announcements accelerated dramatically in China in 2022, with new permits reaching the highest level since 2015. The coal power capacity starting construction in China was six times as large as that in all of the rest of the world combined.
- 50 GW of coal power capacity started construction in China in 2022, a more than 50% increase from 2021. Many of these projects had their permits fast-tracked and moved to construction in a matter of months. A total of 106 GW of new coal power projects were permitted, the equivalent of two large coal power plants per week .1 The amount of capacity permitted more than quadrupled from 23 GW in 2021. Of the projects permitted in 2022, 60 GW were not under construction in January 2023, but are likely to start construction soon, indicating even more construction starts in 2023. In total, 86 GW of new coal power projects were initiated, more than doubling from 40 GW in 2021.
- The largest amount of capacity moved ahead in Guangdong, Jiangsu, Anhui, Zhejiang and Hubei.
- New coal power capacity added to the grid kept steady from 26.2 GW in 2021 to 26.8 GW in 2022. These two years had the lowest annual additions since 2003, reflecting the lower level of construction starts around 2017–2020. Capacity additions will rebound in a few years when projects that broke ground last year begin to come online.
- China has seen a rapid increase in electric peak loads in 2021–2022, with the highest recorded momentary load increasing by 230 GW, due to an increase in the
prevalence of air conditioners and exceptionally intense heat waves. This is prompting an increase in coal power plant development as a costly and sub-optimal solution, especially in major electricity demand centres and provinces neighboring them.
- Of China’s six regional grids, the South and East grid are the only ones that don’t suffer from a clear thermal power overcapacity problem. Yet, 50% of newly
announced projects and 40% of construction starts took place in the grids with overcapacity.
- The provinces permitting a large amount of new coal power plants try to justify the projects as “supporting” power capacity to ensure grid stability and the integration of renewable energy. This justification doesn’t hold water, however, as the plants are intended to run at baseload utilization, and these specific provinces are laggards in growing clean energy generation to meet their demand growth.
- Avoiding the need for more coal-fired power plants requires improvements in energy efficiency, demand response and investments in storage, as well as improving grid operation.
- Plant retirements slowed down further in 2022, with 4.1 GW of coal-fired capacity closed down in 2022, compared with 5.2 GW in 2021. Policies on closing down small and inefficient plants have been revised to keep these plants online instead as back-up or in normal operation after retrofits.
Action Line: How does it benefit the United States to strangle energy supplies here at home while China eliminates any supposed improvement in greenhouse gas emissions and scoops up American manufacturing capacity along the way? Prepare your family for a future in which American power supplies are no longer reliable, and regular brown and blackouts are something you’re forced to live with. Make sure your generator is reliable. You never want to find out your generator has a problem after the fact. Click here to sign up for my free monthly Survive & Thrive, and I’ll help you defeat inertia and prepare your family for the uncertain future ahead.
E.J. Smith - Your Survival Guy
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