Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Follow-up: Just How Much Coal Fired Power Is China Currently Planning/Building?"

Following on October 5's "Satellite images show 'runaway' expansion of coal power in China".
That story at The Guardian starts out "Extra 259GW capacity from coal in pipeline despite Beijing’s restrictions on plants".

259 billion watts in additional coal fired capacity is comparable to the entire U.S. coal-fired fleet currently operationg.

Here's CoalSwarm, the group that supplied the report the Guardian story was based on:
Like an approaching tsunami triggered by a distant earthquake, a massive cohort of hundreds of new coal-fired power plants is on course to be added to the already overbuilt Chinese coal plant fleet. This wave of new capacity—comparable in size to the entire U.S. coal fleet—is the consequence of a little reported surge in permit approvals at the provincial level from late 2014 to early 2016.

While China’s central authorities have sought to mitigate the surge through a series of special regulatory measures, new satellite imagery and plant-by-plant research show the measures to have been only partially effective. Rather than cancelling unneeded coal plants, China’s officials in many cases have merely rescheduled them.

There is still time to stop the wave, but China’s authorities must move quickly to cancel the unneeded projects. Otherwise the tsunami of coal power capacity will overwhelm China’s own coal cap and seriously undermine global climate goals. This report, based on a plant-by-plant survey by CoalSwarm’s Global Coal Plant Tracker (GCPT) completed in July 2018, includes the following findings:

■ ■ 259 Gigawatts (GW) of new capacity are under development in China, comparable to the entire U.S. coal fleet (266 GW). If built, the new plants will increase China’s current coal fleet of 993 GW by 25%.
■ ■ The new capacity is the result of a permitting surge from late 2014 to early 2016, after a regulatory devolution from central to provincial authorities.
 ■ ■ In 2016 and 2017, central authorities sought to rein in the surge through a series of suspension orders.
 ■ ■ Contrary to previous reporting and analysis, many of the restrictions only delayed new projects rather than stopping them.
■ ■ Adding 259 GW of new coal power in China is wildly out of line with the Paris climate agreement. According to the IEA, a 50% chance of limiting future tem- perature increases to 1.75°C requires that China phase out its traditional coal plants by 2045.
■ ■ The surge in new projects will overwhelm China’s own 1100 GW coal cap in the country’s current Five-Year Plan.
■ ■ Cancelling the 259 GW of new coal plants would free up US$210 billion in capital expenditures, enough to build nearly 300 GW of solar PV or 175 GW of wind power.
...MUCH MORE (19 page PDF)

If interested see also Aug. 15's "China is building coal power again".  It's a worldwide phenomena.

And, as noted in the intro to the satellite post:
China will be able to reduce emissions over the next 12 - 18 months the same way the west did in 2008 - 2010: simply through a a slowdown in the rate of growth of their overall economy.
When—not if but when—China's economy again begins showing increases in the rate of growth, the increases will be powered by coal, despite all the headlines about wind and solar installations.
The saving grace, if you can call it that, is the efficiency improvements in the overall system as the small older coal plants are eventually retired.
So the way this plays out is China's economy continues to slow, the central government orders the regional and municipal authorities to scale back their now overly ambitious plans, President Xi goes to the next climate confab and is hailed as having listened to the world clamoring for change and he heads back home to work on ramping up the Chinese growth rate once again.

I should dust off some of the old posts on China gaming Kyoto with the.'ol HFC-23 scam (HFC-23 is 11,700 times more powerful than CO2 as a greenhouse gas) or maybe the Russians running the Gazprom leaky pipes scam.

Yeah we've been doing this for a while. Rio, 1992.
"I don't know if climate change is caused by burning coal or sun flares or what," said the Moscow-based carbon cowboy. "And I don't really give a shit. Russia is the most energy inefficient country around, and carbon is the most volatile market ever. There's a lot of opportunity to make money."