China Coal Shortage May Lead to More Blackouts

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Aug. 4 – The State Electricity Regulatory Commission (SERC) warns that the country may suffer from electricity blackouts this year because current power coal supply cannot meet demand. For the coming summer, it estimates a maximum daily power shortage of 10 million kWh.

Coal-fired power plants supply 78 percent of China’s electricity needs. Some domestic power plants have even resorted to halting operations. Currently, coal reserves are estimated at 43.81 million tones, enough for only 11 days of normal operations.

Power coal prices have also risen unabated with the Qinghuangdao coal market reaching RMB1,065 at the end of July, an 115 percent from last year’s figures.

The SERC blames the lower coal quality for the hampered operations as well as the inadequate capacity of the power grid itself incapable of handling the country’s large demand.

It was also reported that a number of power distribution grids needed to be updated lest they risk a large-scale electricity cut off.