Iced Covered Wind Turbines Hamper China’s Efforts to Retire Coal

  • 2020
  • December
  • 24
  • Iced Covered Wind Turbines Hamper China’s Efforts to Retire Coal


Iced Covered Wind Turbines Hamper China’s Efforts to Retire Coal

5 days agoEric Worrall72 Comments

Guest essay by Eric Worrall

As China struggles with a surge in energy demand brought on by their economic recovery and a cold snap, the reputation of wind power has suffered a blow, as freezing temperatures covered wind turbines in Hunan with ice.

China’s winter chills clean energy transition as factories fire up


BEIJING/YIWU, CHINA (REUTERS) – China’s harsh winter and stunning manufacturing recovery this year have pushed up electricity demand across the country’s industrial belt, complicating Beijing’s drive to cut businesses’ power usage and their reliance on polluting coal-fired energy.

The surge in demand also comes as the cold hampers the ability of renewable energy to fill the gap left by a severe coal shortage, raising doubts about the reliability of cleaner sources to power the world’s second-largest economy during critical periods.

Coal supplies, meanwhile, are tight despite record domestic output in November as a runaway economic recovery sucks up power.

To address localised power shortages, Beijing has urged coal miners to ramp up output and energy firms to diversify gas sources. It has also allowed customs to clear imported coal that had built up at ports during the summer due to unofficial import quotas aimed at supporting local producers.

While Australian coal has reportedly been excluded from customs clearances, it accounts for less than 3 per cent of China’s total thermal coal usage.

In the southern provinces of Jiangxi and Hunan, which rely heavily on hydro and renewables, demand this season overwhelmed supply, with coal plants unable to fill the gap after local miners were shut due to environmental and safety reasons and national curbs on output earlier this year, crimping supply.

In Hunan, wind turbines were frozen by an early cold snap this month that brought ice and snow.

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If only China had built more wind turbines in Hunan, then they could have had even more pretty static ice sculptures to celebrate the Christmas season.

The pictures above were taken in in 2019, so my guess is icing up of wind turbines in Hunan is a regular occurrence.

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