Is China ready to say goodbye to coal?
Rates of coal production and consumption in China are predicted to drop after the government announced a reduction in coal combustion this week.
On Wednesday, the National Energy Administration (NEA) pledged to decrease the amount of coal burned in industrial furnaces and residential heat systems in an effort to improve air quality.
A Timetric report released last month recorded a 3.5 percent decline in Chinese coal consumption in 2014, with a similar trend set to be replicated in years to come. The increasing use of renewable energy sources — from hydro to wind power — has been blamed for the drop.
Currently, around 800 million tonnes of coal is burned directly in China each year, with direct coal combustion making up 20 percent of the country’s consumption volume.
At present, 75 percent of China’s total power generation is derived from coal. The NEA has said that it intends to replace direct burning with electricity and renewables, in addition to low-emission coal-fired generators.
Some experts have predicted that the price of coal in China could rise as much as 20 percent by the end of this year as a result of planned coal divestment.
Regardless, China is still projected to be one of the world’s top coal consumers by 2020, even as the industry falls into decline.
Drax advances biomass strategy with Pinnacle acquisition
The Group’s enlarged supply chain will have access to 4.9 million tonnes of operational capacity from 2022. Of this total, 2.9 million tonnes are available for Drax’s self-supply requirements in 2022, which will rise to 3.4 million tonnes in 2027.
The £424 million acquisition of the Canadian biomass pellet producer supports Drax' ambition to be carbon negative by 2030, using bioenergy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS) and will make a "significant contribution" in the UK cutting emissions by 78% by 2035 (click here).
This summer Drax will undertake maintenance on its CfD(2) biomass unit, including a high-pressure turbine upgrade to reduce maintenance costs and improve thermal efficiency, contributing to lower generation costs for Drax Power Station.
In March, Drax secured Capacity Market agreements for its hydro and pumped storage assets worth around £10 million for delivery October 2024-September 2025.
The limitations on BECCS are not technology but supply, with every gigatonne of CO2 stored per year requiring approximately 30-40 million hectares of BECCS feedstock, according to the Global CCS Institute. Nonetheless, BECCS should be seen as an essential complement to the required, wide-scale deployment of CCS to meet climate change targets, it concludes.