Friday, May 18, 2012

Watch What They Do, Not What They Say: China Building Electrical Grid Better Suited to Coal (BTU; ACI)

To Tom Friedman and others who point to China's leadership in renewables, meh.

Peabody Energy and Arch Coal probably know this and figure if they aren't allowed to sell their coal in the U.S. they can find someone who values it.

From Scientific American:
China Is Developing a Grid Better for Coal Than Renewables
China will fail to meet its carbon and energy intensity targets unless it makes dramatic changes to its electricity grid, a groundbreaking new report finds.

The study, two years in the making, finds that China's grid is its "Achilles' heel," said lead author and Energy Transition Research Institute Research Director William Chandler. While newer and in many ways more technologically advanced than the U.S. grid, China's system is nevertheless being built to perpetuate the use of coal and large hydropower projects.

"The most important thing in the world for meeting carbon goals is what China does in its overall energy policy in the next 10 years. And the big hole in meeting those targets is in the electric power system," Chandler said in an exclusive interview with ClimateWire.

"They are in serious danger of losing the battle to meet their carbon and energy-intensity goals," he said. "Without strong new demand-side measures and strong new regulatory policies on the grid itself, they're not going to make it."

The report, "China Power: Benefits and Costs of the 'Strong, Smart Grid,'" draws on models of China's electric power system that a team of researchers built for the analysis, Chandler said. He noted that it was the first ever devised outside China to integrate both power supply and demand as well as economic drivers.

One key finding: China's engineers are developing a grid that is more likely to connect to coal than to renewables....MORE