Prolonged summer heat waves test electricity supply in China

The Chinese government is working to ensure stable electricity supply as the load on the grid continues to rise amid a prolonged heat wave in a large swath of the country.

Speaking at a press conference held by the information Office of the State Council on Wednesday, Ou Hong, deputy secretary-general of the National Development and Reform Commission, described efforts the government is taking to guarantee power supply during the blistering summer season.

China’s daily electricity generation reached a record high of 30.17 billion kilowatt-hours since early July, which was 1.51 billion kWh higher than last year’s peak, according to Ou.

Since June, many heat waves have rolled through China, particularly in the north provinces. The daily temperature highs at 26 weather stations all broke records, the China Meteorological Administration said on Wednesday.

The government’s measures such as ramping up coal inventories and supplies, and increasing wind power and solar panels capacity have yielded results.

Coal supplies have steadily increased, with imports showing rapid growth, leading to an overall supply-demand balance, Ou said.

Sufficient medium- to long-term contracts have been signed for thermal coal, with high fulfillment rates, the official said.

Coal-fired electricity still accounts for 65 percent of the country’s annual power needs.

The coal inventory at centrally managed power plants stands at 198 million tons, up 23 million tons year-on-year, providing a supply that can last for as long as 26 days, Ou said.

New power generation facilities have played a part in securing electricity supply in this summer.

In the first half, the newly installed capacity of wind power and solar panels accounted for 71 percent of China’s newly installed generating capacity.

These facilities accounted for more than 54 percent of China’s newly added power generation sources, effectively meeting summer electricity demand, said Liu Mingyang, head of the electric power department of the National Energy Administration on Wednesday.

Considering the supply-demand balance, and assuming normal conditions for fuel availability, power plant operations and other measures, it is expected that China’s overall electricity supply and demand will be kept in a tight balance during the peak summer period this year, Lin Boqiang, director of the China Center for Energy Economics Research at Xiamen University, told the Global Times on Wednesday.

(Global Times)

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