Guest essay by Eric Worrall
While China is grappling with soaring energy demands caused by economic recovery and a cold snap, the reputation of wind power has suffered a blow as freezing temperatures blanketed Hunan's wind turbines.
China's winter cools the clean energy transition when factories go live
PUBLISHED 4 HOURS AGO
BEIJING / YIWU, CHINA (REUTERS) – China's severe winter and impressive recovery in production this year have fueled demand for electricity across the country's industrial belt, reflecting Beijing's drive to reduce business electricity consumption and reliance on more polluting Coal power made difficult.
The increase in demand also comes as Cold is hindering the ability of renewable energies to fill the void created by severe coal shortages and raising doubts about the reliability of clean sources to supply the world's second largest economy in critical phases.
Domestic coal supplies are scarce despite record production in November as an economic recovery that's gotten out of control absorbs energy.
To fix localized power outages, Beijing has urged miners to increase production and energy companies to diversify gas sources. It has also enabled customs to clear imported coal that had accumulated in ports over the summer due to unofficial import quotas in support of local producers.
While Australian coal has reportedly been banned from customs clearance, it accounts for less than 3 percent of all thermal coal consumption in China.
In the southern provinces of Jiangxi and Hunan, which rely heavily on hydropower and renewable energy, demand is overwhelmed this seasonWith coal-fired power plants unable to fill the void after local miners were closed for environmental and safety reasons and production was curtailed nationally earlier this year, supply has been curtailed.
Wind turbines were frozen in Hunan through an early cold snap this month that brought ice and snow.
Read more: https://www.straitstimes.com/asia/east-asia/chinas-winter-chills-clean-energy-transition-as-factories-fire-up
If only China had built more wind turbines in Hunan, they could have had even more static ice sculptures to celebrate the holiday season.
The above images were taken in 2019, so my guess is that wind turbines in Hunan regularly freeze over.