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Fresh steps to ensure adequate power supply

China Daily | July 27, 2023


China will effect several measures to ensure adequate power supply amid surging demand for electricity due to economic rebound and heat waves, the country's top economic regulator said on Wednesday.

Reduced water flows in Southwest China have also intensified the challenges being faced in hydroelectric power supply, an important source of energy in the region.

Ou Hong, deputy secretary-general of the National Development and Reform Commission, said the proposed measures include additional supplies of coal and gas, ramping up power plants' output to full capacity, enhanced electricity exchanges among provinces to balance supply and demand, and emergency response plans to deal with potential worst-case scenarios.

According to the NDRC, since the start of this summer, China's daily dispatched electricity reached a record high 30.171 billion kilowatt-hours, an increase of 1.511 billion kWh compared to the same period last year.

"We are confident that China has the ability to guarantee stable and secure energy supply during peak demand in summer, as the NDRC and the departments concerned started preparations early," Ou said.

Since April, the NDRC and some other government agencies have been drawing up plans to ensure power supply to each province, electricity dispatch and supply among provinces, and grid-based electricity transmission from power-flush regions to power-deficient areas.

They have also made efforts to manage power load and accelerate the construction of power generation facilities. As of end-June, China's total installed power capacity reached around 2.71 billion kW, including 141 million kW newly added in the first half of this year.

"We are actively increasing coal reserves and stabilizing coal-fired power output … During the summer, power plants have been maintaining coal reserves at around 200 million metric tons, a record high," Ou said.

According to the NDRC, the country's coal reserves of grid-connected power plants stood at 198 million tons so far this year, an increase of over 23 million tons from the same period last year — and enough for use for nearly 26 days.

In terms of natural gas, daily peak gas consumption for power generation has exceeded 250 million cubic meters since the beginning of summer.

Regarding hydropower, despite the challenge of reduced water flows in Southwest China, timely water storage measures have ensured that hydropower capacity can meet peak electricity demand.

On July 11 and 12, hydropower generation capacity set records, exceeding 32 million kW, playing a crucial role in maintaining stable power supply during the peak periods, the NDRC said.

Liu Mingyang, an official with the National Energy Administration, said the industry regulator has launched various measures like improving the accuracy of forecasts for new energy power generation, establishing an appropriate proportion of energy storage facilities, and promoting the integrated use of wind, solar, hydro and thermal energy sources.

These measures, Liu said, have helped mitigate the intermittent, random and fluctuating nature of new energy sources and strengthened their role in ensuring stable power supply.