Mar 13, 2023
China Stands Almost Alone in Expanding Its Coal Power Fleet
(Bloomberg) -- China is zigging while the rest of the world is zagging when it comes to coal power.
Beijing rapidly accelerated plans for new coal power plants in the second half of last year, increasing its pipeline by 45% to 250 gigawatts, according to a report from London-based climate think tank E3G. Meanwhile, planned power plants in the rest of the world shrank by 10 gigawatts, leaving China accounting for 72% of the world’s future projects.
China’s push for more coal capacity is its response to a series of recent power shortages that have made energy security buzzwords for the nation’s top officials. At the same time, it’s continued the breakneck speed at which it’s installing new renewable power, which will likely make many of the new coal plants expensive backups and potentially stranded assets down the line.
It’s those risks that are slowing down coal elsewhere in the world. Outside of China, only seven new plants were announced last year — six reactivated projects in India and one new facility in Indonesia, according to E3G. For the first time in recent history, no new coal generation was proposed in either North America or the European Union.
“China’s coal boom risks creating a diverging world energy landscape, locking in significant newly operational coal capacity and construction starts for the next five years, just as the rest of the world increasingly recognizes the economic jeopardy of new coal,” E3G said.
The Week’s Diary
(All times Beijing unless noted.)
Tuesday, March 14
- Nothing major scheduled
Wednesday, March 15
- China sets monthly medium-term lending rate, 09:20
- China industrial output for Jan.-Feb., including steel & aluminum; coal, gas & power generation; and crude oil & refining. 10:00
- Retail sales, fixed assets, property investment, residential property sales, jobless rate
- CCTD’s weekly online briefing on China’s coal market, 15:00
- Mysteel Southeastern China Aluminum Summit in Foshan, Guangdong, day 1
- EARNINGS: CGN Power, Daqo New Energy, Power Assets
Thursday, March 16
- China new home prices for February, 09:30
- China Hydrogen Summit in Shanghai, day 1
- Mysteel Southeastern China Aluminum Summit, Foshan, Guangdong, day 2
- EARNINGS: Rusal
Friday, March 17
- China Jan.-Feb. output data for base metals and oil products
- China weekly iron ore port stockpiles
- Shanghai exchange weekly commodities inventory, ~15:30
- China Hydrogen Summit in Shanghai, day 2
- Mysteel Southeastern China Aluminum Summit, Foshan, Guangdong, day 3
- EARNINGS: CMOC, Hong Kong & China Gas
Saturday, March 18
- China’s 2nd batch of Jan.-Feb. trade data, including agricultural imports; LNG & pipeline gas imports; oil products trade breakdown; alumina, copper and rare-earth product exports; bauxite, steel & aluminum product imports
On The Wire
For all that commodities markets were disappointed by China’s relatively subdued 5% growth target set out at the National People’s Congress, the dirtiest end of the sector found reason to take cheer.
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