According to official documents analyzed by Greenpeace, local governments in China approved more new coal power in the first three months of 2023 compared to the entirety of 2021. The environmental group found that at least 20.45 gigawatts (GW) of coal power was approved between January and March of 2023.
The coal power approved for the first three months of 2023 was more than twice the 8.63 GW approved in the same period in 2022. For the entirety of 2021, only 18 GW of coal power was approved.
According to the Guardian, the Chinese Communist Party's (CCP) five-year plan from 2016 had placed an emphasis on reducing the use of coal and developing clean energy sources. This prompted a string of reduced coal power approvals as local governments sought to align their priorities with that of the central government in Beijing. When the aforementioned five-year plan ended in 2020, coal power approvals rose in anticipation of even tighter restrictions in the next plan.
But China's huge power outages that occurred in 2021 led the CCP to shift its energy priorities. Electricity prices spiked in September of that year as factories reopened to service post-pandemic global demand. Worse, a government cap on prices forced many power plants to reduce output rather than operate at a loss.
China relies on coal for more than half of its energy needs. As homes in the colder north of the country faced the prospect of a grueling winter without heat, Beijing shifted its priorities from reducing coal to prioritizing energy supply.
Greenpeace climate and energy campaigner Xie Wenwen remarked that this resulted in a myth that "if you build more power plants, that will bring more energy security." The campaigner added that the Russia-Ukraine war, which sent energy prices around the world soaring, was "another huge event that fueled the energy security narrative."
According to climate campaigners, China needs a more flexible grid – in the form of more renewables and less coal – to meet its energy growing needs. According to a report by the Finland-based Center for Research on Energy and Clean Air, technologies for storing clean energy "are not yet mature enough to be deployed at the scale considered essential" for China's plans to expand the use of renewable energy.
More than 75 percent of China's energy resources – including coal and renewables such as wind, solar and water – are located in the country's west. In contrast, more than 70 percent of power consumption happens in central and eastern China. Five provinces on the east coast account for nearly 40 percent of China's total energy consumption.
Policymakers in the communist country have yet to find a way to balance power consumption and production using both coal and renewables. But the 14th iteration of the CCP's five-year plan, which covers the period until 2025, mandates that renewable sources should cover more than half of increased energy demands in that period. Between 2010 and 2021, renewable energy generation primarily from wind and solar plants increased by an average annual rate of 19.2 percent.
Back in 2020, Xi pledged that China would become carbon-neutral by 2060. Two years after that pledge, the Chinese paramount leader appeared to be singing a different tune. Xi remarked in 2022 that coal would remain a mainstay in the country's energy sources, noting that it "would be hard to change in the short term." (Related: China still thinks fossil fuel is key to a reliable power grid.)
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Watch Tucker Carlson, who was recently fired from Fox News, explain why green energy being pushed in China is a scam.
This video is from the Son of the Republic channel on Brighteon.com.