Coal-Power Shortage Threatened in China

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We’ve heard of coal powered electric power stations having to be shut off in extended drought conditions – like Australia has had for the last decade – because the water needed to run the power plant is even more needed simply for drinking water supplies.

Today, in news from China: electric power is in danger of being shut off due not to hot weather, but to cold weather.


Any time coal reserves go lower than three days, coal-fired power plants must shut down. Eleven percent of the key coal producing provinces’ power plants are close to getting to that point. Coal reserves at power stations are in dangerously short supply.

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As of Sunday, coal reserves in 598 major power plants were decreasing and were only enough to last for nine days. Coal storage in 205 power plants will last for seven days, an alarming level, the National Power Dispatch and Communication Center said.

The local government will move more than 5,400 local people to safer places.

On Sunday, Shanxi, Shandong, Henan, Hubei and Chongqing continued electricity rationing because of power shortages. Rather than the poor weather conditions causing a difficulty in mining coal, or of shipping it by railroad, Mining News, claims the shortage was caused by excessive use of electricity for heating.

Beijing, with its population of over 17 million, saw temperatures hovering around zero degrees – the lowest record in the capital since the 1970’s. Beijing meteorological authorities have publicly acknowledged that climate change may be the cause of such extreme weather events.

Image: Flikr user Renown

Source: China Daily

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