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Efforts on to ensure fuel supply for power plants in heat-affected regions

Updated: Oct 9, 2022 Print
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Workers shovel coal at a railway section in Jiujiang, Jiangxi province. HU GUOLIN/FOR CHINA DAILY

More efforts are in the pipeline to accelerate the release of advanced coal production capacity to drive up coal output, and ensure coal reserves at power plants remain at high levels, an expert said on Monday.

The comments were made after certain regions had seen power demand surge after a sustained heat wave in some areas of China. Sichuan province, which is among the badly affected parts, had to resort to measures like rationing of industrial power consumption to guarantee power supply to its residents.

"The heat wave will have short-term and limited impact on power supply. Since the beginning of this year, coal production has achieved double-digit growth to ensure stable supply of energy. Coal companies are also ramping up output and dispatching coal to places in need amid soaring demand," said Lin Boqiang, head of the China Institute for Studies in Energy Policy at Xiamen University.

In the first seven months of this year, national coal output was 2.56 billion tons, up 11.5 percent year-on-year, according to the National Energy Administration.

The administration said in a recent statement that it has continued to intensify efforts to guide and urge coal enterprises to speed up the release of advanced production capacity and ramp up coal output, and is also working to keep coal storage at power plants at a historically high level.

From Aug 1 to Wednesday, China saw its coal production reach 210 million metric tons, with an average daily output of 12.33 million tons, up 19.4 percent year-on-year, according to the administration.

Many companies in the A-share market have also seen their share prices rise on the government's call to ramp up coal output and ensure energy security.

For instance, shares of Jinneng Holding Shanxi Coal Industry Co Ltd rose 7.75 percent to close at 16.96 yuan ($2.48) on the Shanghai Stock Exchange on Monday. Similarly, shares of Shanxi Coking Coal Group Co Ltd rose 5.39 percent to close at 13.1 yuan on the Shenzhen Stock Exchange. Shares of Shaanxi Coal and Chemical Industry Group Co Ltd and China Shenhua Energy Co Ltd also rose.

The administration said the average daily coal supply for power plants under China's unified dispatch was 8 million tons in the Aug 1-17 period, and the coal storage at power plants remained stable at more than 170 million tons, which strongly supports the full and stable operation of coal-fired power units, and provides a solid and reliable electricity supply for economic development and people's livelihoods.

Many coal companies have stepped up supplies to areas facing scorching heat. For instance, State-owned China Energy Investment Corp is ramping up efforts to dispatch coal from production hubs such as Shaanxi and Gansu provinces to Sichuan province and Chongqing, where rising temperatures have led to a surge in power demand after reservoirs used in electricity generation dried up.

The company said it has sent 190,000 tons of coal in all to Sichuan province and Chongqing from Aug 1 to 17, up 89.6 percent year-on-year and the highest level in history.

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