China’s thirst for (clean) power
Coal saved China’s hydro-reliant provinces during this summer’s extreme drought. But using thermal plants to prop up the grid during dry periods risks exacerbating the problem of water stress
Coal burn rose 96% in Sichuan this summer, driving up thermal cooling water consumption during an acute drought
The water burden of this additional thermal generation equates to meeting the needs of a population of 1.2 million people
Much of this extra coal burn is unnecessary, and could be avoided by reforming markets and expanding transmission capacity/utilisation
This article was first published by TransitionZero. Read the original here.
Coal has for decades been the bedrock of China’s electricity system, keeping the lights on and factories humming when other sources aren’t available. But the carbon-intensive foundations of the Chinese grid are beginning to crack under the strain of climate-induced water shortages.
Coal is increasingly playing the role of swing producer in the Chinese power mix. Plants ramp up and down in response to variations in hydro, wind and solar generation, and in concert with power demand peaks and troughs. Coal’s traditional role in energy security came to the …