November 1, 2021 - China’s coal supply has shown signs of picking up with daily production reaching a new high this year as government measures to boost output amid power shortages take effect, according to the country’s top economic regulator.
Average daily coal production surpassed 11.5 million tons recently, up over 1.2 million tons from that in mid-September, among which coal mines in Shanxi Province, Shaanxi Province and the Inner Mongolia autonomous region reached an average daily production of about 8.6 million tons, a new high for this year, said the National Development and Reform Commission.
The NDRC said coal production will continue to increase, and demand for coal used to produce electricity and heat will be effectively guaranteed.
Zhao Chenxin, secretary-general of the NDRC, said at a recent news conference that energy supplies can be guaranteed this coming winter and spring. While ensuring energy supplies, the government will also make sure that China’s goals to peak carbon emissions by 2030 and reach carbon neutrality by 2060 will be achieved, Zhao said.
The statements came after the government initiated a series of measures to boost coal supplies to deal with power shortages, which have hit factories and households in some areas.
A total of 153 coal mines were allowed to boost production capacity by 220 million tons per year since September, among which some have started raising output, with estimated newly increased production reaching over 50 million tons in the fourth quarter, said the NDRC.
The government also selected 38 coal mines for urgent use to ensure supplies, and allowed them to increase production capacity periodically. Total annual production capacity of the 38 coal mines will reach 100 million tons.
In addition, the government has allowed land use for more than 60 coal mines, which could help guarantee an annual production capacity of more than 150 million tons. It also actively promotes production resumption among coal mines that underwent temporary shutdowns.
Sun Qingguo, an official at the National Mine Safety Administration, said at a recent news conference that the current output boost was done in an orderly manner, and the government is taking measures to check conditions of coal mines to guarantee the safety of miners.
Lin Boqiang, head of the China Institute for Studies in Energy Policy at Xiamen University in Fujian Province, said coal-fired power generation now makes up over 65% of the country’s total, and the fossil fuel still plays an important role in ensuring energy supplies over short- and medium-terms.
“China is taking measures to optimize its energy mix with the most recent being encouraging construction of large-scale wind and solar power bases in desert regions. With rapid development of new energy types, China’s coal sector will eventually see a less essential role in the country’s energy structure,” Lin said.
Wu Lixin, assistant to general manager of the Coal Industry Planning Institute of China Coal Technology and Engineering Group, said the coal industry is also switching to a greener path of development under the country’s green goals.
“China’s coal industry is phasing out outdated capacity and striving to achieve safer, greener and technology-led coal production,” Wu said.