Column: China’s power sector emissions set to jump as economy reboots: Maguire

LITTLETON, Colo., Jan 9 (Reuters) – Negative ratings from China’s main energy sector are expected to rise sharply in 2023 as Beijing’s efforts to boost economic growth increase fuel burn.

The electricity sector produces about 90% of the country’s emissions, which is the most polluting in the world, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA).

These emissions were reduced in 2022 by repeated shutdowns of the COVID-19, strict measures that limit the movement of people and industrial output for years in production and exports.

Even so, the total emissions of carbon dioxide and air equivalents from China’s electricity producers rose by 1.6% through November from the same period in 2021, hitting 4.27 billion tons, according to Ember research.

These losses are expected to increase significantly in 2023 as efforts are made to recover the economic growth caused by the rise of manufacturing companies and heavy industries throughout the country.

In addition, due to the high cost of natural gas (LNG), power producers are expected to rely more on high-emission coal to generate the additional energy the industry needs, although China continues to produce the highest volumes in the world. renewable energy.

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The 1.6% increase in China’s electricity sector through November was the smallest increase in the period other than 2020, when China began to deal with the COVID epidemic, Ember’s data shows.

China energy sector air

A more than 10% increase in electricity generated from clean sources such as solar and wind – compared to a 1.5% increase in fossil fuel-fired power generation – helped reduce overall electricity emissions, according to Ember data.

The reduction in energy consumption from closed factories and several key industries also reduced the pollution of the entire energy sector, which China’s factories produced in 2022 after being suppressed.

China’s industrial growth slowed to 3.57% in Jan-Nov 2022 from 9.32% in 2021

However, China’s energy consumption is now set to increase as factories and heavy industries such as steelmakers, chemical factories and ceramics expand following Beijing’s easing of COVID restrictions.

And the increase in power generation is more likely to be coal-fired, because steam plants can run their own boilers while the increasing power consumption of industries requires equipment to raise all the power of coal.

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While it may take months – or perhaps years – for China’s economy to recover from the effects of COVID-19, several regions that produce raw materials used by manufacturers and factories have already shifted production to record or years.

Crude oil refiners and producers of non-ferrous metals such as copper, aluminum, nickel and zinc have either raised annual output or drawn the most since November.

In addition, producers of ethylene, polymers, resins, sulfuric acid and soda ash – all used in the production of electronics, machinery and other finished goods – will also increase output from the end of 2022.

China’s production of large-scale industrial products

Many of these features may be related to the expectations of the user base, rather than actual changes in the literature.

And in the case of crude oil refining, the increase in refined oil production may reflect a desire to export more oil than an actual rise in domestic oil prices.

However, the economic growth that occurs in many industries can lead to increased investment in industry.

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And combined with a number of stimulus measures already unveiled by Beijing to support higher spending and higher consumption in 2023, this increase in activity in the sub-sector indicates an increase in China’s energy consumption in the coming year.

To be sure, there are several key factors that point to the weakness of China’s economy, including its world-leading airline market that remains depressed both domestically and internationally.

Domestic and international flight numbers

But overall energy consumption and emissions are much higher than in many other areas of China’s economy. This portends a negative outlook for global emissions that peaked in 2022 even if China’s biggest polluters were sidelined.

Gavin Maguire reports; Edited by Kenneth Maxwell

Our Standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

The opinions expressed are those of the author. They do not reflect the views of Reuters News, which, under the Trust Principles, is committed to integrity, independence, and freedom from discrimination.

Gavin Maguire

Thomson Reuters

Gavin Maguire is a Global Energy Transition Columnist. He was previously editor of Asia Commodities and Energy.


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