Full-Steam Ahead: No End to China’s Insatiable Appetite For Coal-Fired Power

China isn’t even vaguely interested in intermittent wind and solar; it’s insatiable demand for coal to fuel coal-fired power plants tells the story, as does the fact that it continues to build new coal-fired plants, hand over fist.

All despite claims by wind and solar cult that China will soon turn its nose up at the black stuff.

The CCP’s efforts to make Australia kowtow with its ban on Australian coal imports has come with a particular domestic price. Disgruntled householders and businesses, faced with rapidly rising energy costs and power rationing, will cause a policy rethink at the party level, soon enough.

But, trade squabbles aside, there is absolutely no doubt that China is deadly serious about building serious power generation capacity. Much to the horror of the climate cult.

China’s coal war with Australia fuels shortage at home
The Wall Street Journal
Chuin-Wei Yap
11 February 2021

China’s ban on Australian coal imports is intensifying a crisis in its coal market, which is battling surging prices, supply shortages, conflicting policy goals and a cold winter.

Locked in a diplomatic brawl over Canberra’s call for an independent global inquiry into the origins of COVID-19, Beijing imposed an informal ban around September that forced boatloads of Australian coal to languish at sea. China’s central government made the embargo official at a mid-December meeting with major Chinese electricity producers, who are big buyers of thermal coal.

The ban complicated a supply crunch that the meeting was convened to solve, government and state media reports show. China was short of thermal coal and officials urged the companies to import more–from anywhere except Australia, China’s biggest supplier. To comply, buyers in China have had to pay steep premiums for imports from farther afield, on top of prices that have risen 84 per cent since mid-year.

“Coal buyers are on tenterhooks watching the import market,” the China Coal Transportation and Distribution Association, which represents importers, said in a statement. “It’s been hard to replenish low coal inventory and shortages, while demand is unabated.”

From Norwegian salmon to Mongolian commodities, Beijing has in recent years increasingly used China’s buying heft to apply political pressure abroad – but the coal market is showing that the strategy can backfire. Even as Chinese buyers obeyed Beijing, Australia’s coal prices rallied as other buyers from big coal-consuming nations, including Japan and India, stepped in.

“It’s a pretty crazy situation,” said Rory Simington, a principal analyst at energy researcher Wood Mackenzie. “The price of high-grade coal in Australia right now is at a big discount to spot coal in the Chinese domestic market.”

Prices in China surged over the seven months through January to records of more than $US130 a tonne for high-grade thermal coal–nearly twice the mid-year level–due to slower output last year and a faster-than-expected economic recovery.

The Chinese coal association said prices have this month started to edge down for some coal varieties, and Beijing’s top economic planner last month assured the public that China has enough coal to meet demand. The shortage has eaten into coal reserves, though hasn’t weighed on industrial output yet. A longer jag of high prices, if unaddressed, could have slowed China’s manufacturing and risked a public outcry. The National Development and Reform Commission, which organised the December meeting to stabilise the market, didn’t respond to a request for comment.

Two big state-backed Chinese coal indexes on December 30 said that the market was so chaotic that they could no longer provide such pricing.

“The government needs to adopt measures to increase coal supply to guide the market back to a reasonable range as soon as possible,” the China Electricity Council, which owns one of the indexes, said in a statement. The council resumed its index a week later, but modified it to a weekly, rather than its previous daily, format. The coal association, which also halted its index, hasn’t resumed pricing high-grade coal.

The voracity of China’s energy market, the world’s largest, shapes global commodity prices and shipping flows. Coal supplies about 60 per cent of China’s energy consumption, more than half of which goes toward electricity generation.

Chinese leader Xi Jinping has sought to curb China’s fossil-fuel appetite, part of a bid for global leadership on climate change, laying down ambitious climate goals that seek to cap coal consumption and promote alternative energy sources, such as wind and solar.

But the leadership’s environmental policy has run at odds with an economic recovery that has driven up coal demand and a coal industry that includes powerful mining interests. Provincial governments often publicly defend job security at mines.

Beijing has since 2018 maintained quotas that limit coal imports, which further an environmental agenda but also buttress Chinese coal. The government acknowledges the existence of the quotas, but doesn’t disclose their terms.

Coal production hit a peak of 3.97 billion tonnes in 2013, and fell thereafter due to Mr Xi’s policies, but began to rebound in 2017 and reached 3.84 billion tonnes in 2020.

“Worryingly, China remains committed to supporting the coal industry,” global researcher Climate Action Tracker said in a December report. “After lifting a previous construction ban on new coal plants in 2018, China has rolled back policies restricting new coal plant-permitting in each of the last three years.”

The current shortage stems in part from a sprawling anticorruption and environmental probe in China’s central and northeastern coalmining country. Local governments there warned last year that coal production had sharply declined, as the investigation delved into deadly mining accidents. Chinese environmental regulators have publicly criticised coal as an ecological liability.

As temperatures dipped to the lowest in 40 years in northern China, the coal crunch drove Beijing to global markets. The National Development and Reform Commission abandoned its import quota–but shunned Australia.

Australia is known for its abundance of top-quality coal. In China, the domestic shortages are sharpest in such grades, and in recent weeks traded as high as twice the price of its Australian counterpart, commodity price databases show. After the local indexes were halted, some Chinese buyers had to accept prices as high as $US139 a tonne in domestic transactions, people in the industry say.

In a bid to locate alternative sources, Chinese importers have had to venture as far as North America, paying a $US100 premium last month for US coal over Australian prices, commodity-pricing service Argus said in a report. The Australian government didn’t respond to requests for comment.

The coal shortages were caused by “a string of underestimations of how the market would react to developments, including the broader economic recovery, the corruption probe, production cuts, and import restrictions, “ said Li Xuegang, vice president of the China Coal Transportation and Distribution Network, an industry group.

In January, seven coal-producing companies attended another meeting organised by the government in Beijing, where they vowed to stabilise the market, according to state-run Xinhua News Agency. But the plan might take time to work, analysts say.

“Supply issues will continue to be a core factor affecting the coal market in 2021,” Mr. Li said.
Wall Street Journal

In 2020 China built three times more coal power than the rest of the world
Jo Nova Blog
Jo Nova
5 February 2021

Coal power is surging in the second largest economy even as China tells the rest of the world to “cut carbon”

If, hypothetically, China were to fund anti-coal groups in the countries it competes with — it would be a successful strategy to hurt them and advantage China. Which journalists would tell us if that were happening?

China’s new coal power plant capacity in 2020 more than three times rest of world’s: study
SHANGHAI (Reuters) – China put 38.4 gigawatts (GW) of new coal-fired power capacity into operation in 2020, according to new international research, more than three times the amount built elsewhere around the world and potentially undermining its short-term climate goals.

The country won praise last year after President Xi Jinping pledged to make the country “carbon neutral” by 2060. But regulators have since come under fire for failing to properly control the coal power sector, a major source of climate-warming greenhouse gas.

Including decommissions, China’s coal-fired fleet capacity rose by a net 29.8 GW in 2020, even as the rest of the world made cuts of 17.2 GW, according to research released on Wednesday by Global Energy Monitor (GEM), a U.S. think tank, and the Helsinki-based Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air (CREA).

Do the Greens care more about stopping CO2 rising or about helping co-dependent uncompetitive industry mates in their own nations. Judge them by their choices: do they protest more against China’s new coal, or for subsidies for mates?

The scale of disparity is astounding:

How China’s coal power glut is clouding its carbon zero ambitions
Echo Xie, SCMP

Even for Christine Shearer, a veteran researcher on China’s energy development, the data was surprising.

Last year, when China pledged to be carbon neutral by 2060, the country built the equivalent of one large coal-fired power plant per week, adding more than three times as much new coal power capacity as all other countries in the world combined. In addition, over 73 gigawatts of new coal power projects was proposed in 2020, five times as much as the rest of the world combined.

“[China] was home to 85 per cent of new coal plant proposals and over 75 per cent of commissioned coal power in 2020,” she said. “Chinese provinces also permitted more coal-fired capacity for construction in 2020 than the past three years combined.”

If the Greens cared about CO2 they would care about the largest source of man-made CO2 on the planet. Instead, their socialist roots predict their actions far better than fake environmental concerns. Companies that don’t need governments to profit are a threat to the collectivists. Companies that need Big Gov will always lobby for Big Gov, and donate to Big Gov, and join the cancel culture and the toxic messaging.

Ultimately independent energy companies serve the people. Dependent energy companies serve Big Government.
Jo Nova Blog

About stopthesethings

We are a group of citizens concerned about the rapid spread of industrial wind power generation installations across Australia.


  1. Robert Ploeg says:

    we can not share it any more.

    On Wed, 24 Feb 2021 at 5:32 pm, STOP THESE THINGS wrote:

    > stopthesethings posted: ” China isn’t even vaguely interested in > intermittent wind and solar; it’s insatiable demand for coal to fuel > coal-fired power plants tells the story, as does the fact that it continues > to build new coal-fired plants, hand over fist. All despite clai” >

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