Full Steam Ahead: China’s Coal-Fired Power Surge Continues At Full-Tilt

Cut the subsidies and the wind and solar ‘industries’ would disappear overnight. That’s the lesson being delivered across the globe, as investment in new wind and solar capacity plummets.

Nowhere has the collapse been more prominent than in China. Which is at odds with the meme that’s been run by renewable energy zealots for years now.

Instead of powering its industrial revolution with sunshine and breezes, China is building coal-fired power plants, hand over fist.

Sure, at the official level the Chinese pretend to pay lip service to their purported “climate obligations” – which is simply code for preventing them from enjoying the same industrial and economic success as Europeans have done for the last two centuries – by promising (sometime between now and never) to slash their emissions of carbon dioxide gas.

Always inscrutable, the Chinese have incensed the likes of wind and solar promoter, Bloomberg New Energy Finance by refusing to destroy their economy from within.

Rather than using the $billions sitting in green slush funds to spear these things and plaster solar panels across China, that money is being redirected to a much more useful purpose: the construction of dozens of new coal-fired power plants. [Note to Ed: is this where we add the wailing and gnashing of teeth?]

China has slashed clean energy funding by 39%, leading a global decline
MIT Energy Review
James Temple
10 July 2019

Worldwide funding of clean-energy projects fell to its lowest level in six years, in a staggering blow to the battle against climate change.

The findings: BloombergNEF found that global investments in solar, wind, and other clean energy sources added up to $117.6 billion during the first half of 2019, a 14% decline from the same period last year and the lowest six-month figure since 2013.

China saw a 39% drop in investments, as the nation eases up on its aggressive solar subsidies to get costs under control. But spending also declined 6% in the US and 4% in Europe, part because of policies that are being phased out and weak demand for additional energy generation in mature markets.

The big picture: The new report suggests last year’s slowdown in renewable-energy construction has extended into 2019.

More bad news: BNEF found that private investments into clean energy companies also declined, ticking down 2% to $4.7 billion, limiting the pipeline of the innovative new companies needed to solve remaining challenges in the climate puzzle.

Reversing the trend: Preventing the spending dip from solidifying into a sustained trend will almost certainly require more aggressive government policies, both pushing clean energy development and providing incentives to increase private investment.
MIT Energy Review

China provides $1 billion in ‘green’ finance to coal projects in first half of the year
David Stanway
19 August 2019

SHANGHAI (Reuters) – Chinese financial institutions provided at least $1 billion in “green” financing to coal-related projects in the first half of this year, a review of financial data showed, with fossil fuels still playing a major role in Beijing’s energy strategy.

According to Shanghai-based financial data provider Wind, 7.4 billion yuan ($1.1 billion) in green corporate and financial bonds were issued by 13 coal projects in the first half of the year. They involved power plants fueled by coal or coalbed methane as well as coal-to-chemical projects.

Cutting coal and encouraging cleaner forms of energy is a major part of China’s efforts to reduce smog and greenhouse gases. The share of coal in the country’s total energy mix fell to 59% last year, down from 68.5% in 2012, and it aims to cut that share to around 50% by 2030.

But overall capacity is still set to grow even as it falls as a share of the total, and China also needs to upgrade existing mines and plants. Thus, while many global financial institutions have said they will no longer fund coal projects, their Chinese counterparts have not followed suit.

Last year, more than a quarter of the green bonds issued in China failed to meet international criteria, according to the Climate Bonds Initiative (CBI), a non-profit group that promotes global green bond standards.

Chinese regulators were planning earlier this year to devise new standards to prevent coal projects from issuing green bonds to bring the nation more in line with global norms.

But the move has been opposed by state planning agency, the National Development and Reform Commission, with funding still needed for ultra-low emissions technology and to develop cleaner coal revenue streams such as coal chemicals and coalbed methane.

“Coal is obviously never green,” said Liu Junyan, senior climate and energy campaigner with Greenpeace East Asia.

“The alleged purpose for ‘clean coal tech’ is to address the environment risk posed by the coal industry, but for some of these methods, the ‘clean coal’ risk is even greater than the original problem,” she said.

China Energy News, a publication run by the Communist Party-owned paper the People’s Daily, reported this year that more than 80% of a central government renewable energy fund was used to fund fossil fuels like coalbed methane and shale gas in 2018.

China also approved 141 million tonnes of new annual coal mining capacity in the first half of this year, compared to 25 million tonnes for the whole of 2018.

More coal-fueled power stations are also expected to be built, with an industry lobby group predicting total coal-fired capacity to peak at 1,300 gigawatts, meaning another 290 GW could go into operation.

Full steam ahead: China’s coal-fired power surge continues apace.

3 thoughts on “Full Steam Ahead: China’s Coal-Fired Power Surge Continues At Full-Tilt

  1. Yep, this says it all – Texans and Australians are the world’s dumbest people. Meanwhile, people in authoritarian communist ruled China know you cannot provide electricity in a first world nation relying on weather dependent wind and solar generation – draw your own conclusions!

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