China Struggling Mass Blackouts Following Aussie Coal Embargo


Guest essay by Eric Worrall

h/t mwhite, GWPF; Millions of Chinese are suffering severe power supply problems, brownouts and blackouts. According to media reports the problems have been caused by fuel shortages, following Chinese President Xi Jinping’s embargo of Australian coal imports.

Beijing’s trade war with Australia spectacularly backfires as China is plagued by electricity woes plunging millions into darkness – after it refused delivery of $1billion of Aussie coal

Beijing blacklisted imports of Australian coal as part of the trade war last month 
Some 80 ships carrying $1.1b worth of coal are sitting off the Australian coast 
Coal prices have skyrocketed in China as domestic supply struggles to keep up
Now provincial governments are imposing restrictions on electricity usage
There are power outages and limits of heating and AC use during the cold winter 


PUBLISHED: 02:31 AEDT, 18 December 2020 | UPDATED: 12:06 AEDT, 18 December 2020

Millions of Chinese residents have been left without heating in the middle of winter as cities ration electricity amid a blockade on Australian coal. 

Australia provided 57 per cent of China‘s thermal coal imports in 2019, which is used to generate electricity in power stations. 

But last month, Beijing blocked Australian coal imports, which has resulted in 80 ships carrying more than $1.1billion in blacklisted cargo being stranded off the Chinese coast.  

Chinese coal prices were 500 yuan ($100) last month but increased 760 yuan ($153) per tonne on Wednesday, which has now resulted in restrictions on power use for millions of residents, according to South China Morning Post. 

Some 57 million people live in Zhejiang province, south of Shanghai, on China’s east coast, and have been besieged by power shortages resulting in electricity being shut off.

The Zhejiang provincial government has now ordered offices to only use heating when the temperature drops below 3C and restaurant to only use air conditioning for diners, rather than staff, in the city of Wenzhou from December 11 to 20. 

Small to medium sized factories have reportedly been ordered to halt production for one to two days after operating for two days between December 13 and 30. 

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The coal embargo appears to be Chinese retaliation for Australia’s support of US opposition to China’s territorial claims in the South China Sea, and other alleged grievances. But so far the embargo appears to be hurting China more than Australia.

China’s central government claims there are no power shortages;

Spokeswoman Meng Wei said the current coal inventory was sufficient for 21 days of operation at power plants across the country and 31 days in northeastern Heilongjiang province – the coldest part of the country during winter.

“We have noticed coal prices have risen recently and that has caused widespread concern in society. However, current coal market supply and demand are generally balanced, and coal supply this winter and next spring is guaranteed,” Meng said.

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This is not the first time the Xi Jinping regime’s policies have caused catastrophic Chinese energy supply and home heating problems.

In 2018 Northern China suffered severe heating shortages in the middle of a bitterly cold winter, thanks to Xi Jinping decreeing that everyone should switch from coal to natural gas. Nobody checked whether there were sufficient gas supplies to service the converted heating appliances.


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