China’s Ongoing Water Woes.. and Power Woes Too???

Tuesday, April 22, 2008 8:39

As a quick follow up to a post I made last week, I am becoming increasingly concerned about the energy situation in China. It is something I have been thinking about for quite a while, and was unfortunately proven right a few months ago. more importantly though, I have been seeing a number of signs (Shanghai commercial lights off @ night) and hearing that there are still rolling power outages in what are typically areas with enough energy.

Then, Forbes last week reported that More than 70 pct of China power firms making losses,

the China Electricity Council said that 40 pct of China’s 4,773 power firms made losses in the first two months of the year, and that profits were down across the board as a result of record high coal prices, fixed tariffs and the freak weather conditions that struck southern China over the period.

and, today the People’s Daily China’s power coal reserve falls to 12 days amid rising prices

The nation’s entire coal reserves slumped to 46.69 million tons as of April 20, down 12 percent from 53 million tons in the early March, said Wang at a news conference on Tuesday.

The national stockpile was only sufficient for 12 days of consumption, three days fewer than the March record. Coal inventories for plants in Anhui, Chongqing and Hebei were only enough for less than a week, he said

But, more than these stories, where I would like readers to focus, is last week’s Reuters article China to update rail lines to boost coal supply where some real insights into just how difficult the problem will be short/ medium term will be (I have added the numbers):

1. Some 19 lines linking top coal areas in the north to ports in the east would be updated or rebuilt, increasing transport volume to 1.7 billion tonnes, said Dong Yan at the Institute of Comprehensive Transportation of National Development and Reform Commission.

2. Some 200 million tonnes of coal was taken by truck each year from producers in places such as Shanxi, Inner Mongolia and Shaanxi to ports in the north and east

3. China’s coal consumption would rise to 3-3.1 billion tonnes in 2010, and to up to 3.3-3.7 billion tonnes in 2015, which compared with 2.54 billion tonnes in 2007, driven by strong demand from power plants, Dong said.

Add all this together…

19 lines that are in need of repair + reliance on trucks to keep up at current levels + 20% increase in need in next 18 months.. and you have the makings of a natural barrier to growth in my mind. After all, one would realistically expect that truck capacity will not be able to keep up – much less double/ triple – with the current fuel shortages

and with this in mind I would like to remind you that if the water situation worsens (no water = no hydro).. and the price of coal stays high.. and there is a spike in energy consumption.. we could see some very interesting times.

You will remember from my posts, Guangdong’s Energy Crisis Will Continue. What’s Your Plan? and China’s Power Crisis. What is Happening. What the Impact Is/ Could be. And What You Should Do that China’s power firms were already operating on the thinest of stocks as it was and the Guangdong governor was expecting shortages before the winter storm hit.

So, with that in mind, what are the options? Is it possible/ feasible to take yourself off the grid through solar? Is anyone seeking assurances from their zones? What are the going rates for “guaranteed” supplies of power?

Perhaps if you are fortunate enough to the algae blooms, you can harness the algae to create a power supply

or perhaps more programs like the one Nike just announced would be a better place to start for all concerned?

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