Monday, September 28, 2009

Ill Winds: China’s Wind-Power Push Means More Coal

A follow up to the post immediately below, "China becomes world's largest energy producer". I saw the journal story on China wind/coal but spaced it. Here Environmental Capital does the intro:

Strange, but true: China’s explosive growth in wind power seems to be accelerating the construction of coal-fired power plants. The Wall Street Journal reports today:

[O]fficials want enough new coal-fired capacity in reserve so that they can meet demand whenever the wind doesn’t blow…”China will need to add a substantial amount of coal-fired power capacity by 2020 in line with its expanding economy, and the idea is to bring some of the capacity earlier than necessary in order to facilitate the wind-power transmission,” said Shi Pengfei, vice president of the Chinese Wind Power Association.

That doesn’t just mean more coal plants in one part of the country while other parts of the country build massive new wind farms. Coal is still king even in regions that are becoming poster children for China’s clean-energy push, such as Jiuquan. Adds the WSJ:

Wind turbines with a combined capacity of 12.7 gigawatts are due to be installed there by 2015—more than the country’s present nuclear-power capacity. But the Jiuquan government wants to build 9.2 gigawatts of new coal-fired generating capacity as well, for use when the winds aren’t favorable. That’s equivalent to the entire generating capacity of Hungary.

China’s increased use of clean energy wins no shortage of applause. But the reality is still coal-black, as Chinese officials themselves keep stressing. (Oh dear, does that count as panda-thumping too?)...MORE

Meanwhile, at Naked Capitalism, here's Yves Antidote du Jour from Thursday:

Antidote du Jour

Links return on Sept. 30….