China plans a massive increase in coal mining, a move that will reduce its reliance on imports from hostile countries, such as Australia and the US. China will increase its coal and gas imports from friendly countries, such as Russia
China’s measures likely will postpone some climate actions.
China’s measures would completely offset any highly subsidized U.S. wind and solar build-outs that produce electricity at about 3 times the price of electricity from coal
The National Development and Reform Commission, the nation’s top economic planner, told officials from major mining regions at a meeting late last week that it wants to boost domestic production capacity by about 300 million tons, according to people familiar with the matter. It also plans to build a 620 million-ton stockpile of the fuel split between government, miners and users.
Such an increase in output would cut the country’s already scant dependence on foreign imports after global prices hit record levels in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
The measures also highlight concerns that China’s reliance on fossil fuels remains as entrenched as ever, as it seeks to enhance energy security to limit disruptions to economic growth, regardless of the impact on its climate goals.
It’s hard to overstate the importance to China of coal, the most-polluting fossil fuel. The nation produces and consumes more than half of global supply, and it’s the biggest contributor to its world-leading greenhouse gas emissions.
China has said that coal consumption should begin to fall off in the second half of this decade as it strives to peak emissions across the economy by 2030.
The production increase would be split, with 150 million tons of capacity coming from new, upgraded operations and another 150 million from open-pit mines and some mines that had previously been shut.
Daily output should average 12.6 million tons, according to the NDRC, which is even higher than the record-breaking levels reached in the fall after shortages caused widespread industrial brownouts.
The NDRC didn’t give a timeline for the ramp-up, but if last year’s all-out push on production is anything to go by, it could happen relatively quickly.
The added 300 million tons of capacity is equivalent to China’s typical annual imports. The nation produced over 4 billion tons of its own coal last year.
Add in China’s recently agreed deal to import 100 million tonnes of coal a year from Russia, and it is clear that they have no intention of cutting back on coal consumption, anytime soon.
Just in case you did not know,
The coal will be burned in ULTRA-SUPER-CRITICAL new coal plants, that are about 44% efficient, with the latest air cleaning technology (as good as the best in Europe, Japan, and the US), and are, as a result, at least 100 times CLEANER than retiring old coal plants, that are about 25% efficient, with poor air cleaning technology.