BEIJING: China will secure domestic energy supplies this winter while ensuring its climate change targets are met, a state planning official said on Wednesday (Oct 13).
The comments come as several regions grapple with their worst power crunch in years, driven by shortages of power-generating fuels, record-high coal prices and surging power demand as manufacturing activity cranks up in the world's second largest economy.
Some factories have been forced to suspend production due to power rationing, which some analysts believe could continue into early next year.
"China's energy supply in this winter and next spring is guaranteed," Zhao Chenxin, an official from the National Development and Reform Commission told a news conference, adding that China's long-term climate goals of peak carbon by 2030 and carbon neutrality by 2060 will also be met.
Thermal power fuels, including coal and natural gas, account for around 70 per cent of China's electricity generation, according to National Bureau of Statistics.
Zhao also said the country will forbid local governments to shut coal mines without authorisation, and will urge the closed coal mines in China's top mining hub Shanxi, Inner Mongolia and Shaanxi to rectify their problems and resume production as soon as possible. Heavy flooding recently has forced a number of mines to halt production.
China has reviewed about 976 coal mines and approved 153 of them, which can add 55 million tonnes coal output in the fourth quarter, said Sun Qingguo, an official from the National Mine Safety Administration.
Daily coal output has reached the highest level since February at more than 11.2 million tonnes, while the total dispatchable coal inventory in the country can support 15 days of use, according to another official.
Zhao also said that China has secured 174.4 billion cubic metres of natural gas sources and established more than 27 billion cubic metres of gas storage so far.
But authorities reiterated that the output boost will not compromise safety standards in the often accident-prone coal mining sector.
"Production expansion will be implemented in an orderly manner," said Sun from the coal mining safety watchdog.
Beijing this week announced it will allow power prices to move up by more than 20 per cent from base levels for high-energy intensity industries, and the state planner also said it will instruct local governments to publish the list of such firms and restrain any illegal power consumption by them.