China plans to speed up the approval of new coal mines and fast-track the construction of already approved mines to back up its energy supplies ahead of the usual summer demand spikes, Liang Changxin, an official from the National Energy Administration (NEA), said on Wednesday.
Peak energy demand is expected to exceed 1.36 billion kilowatts this summer, representing a “significant increase on last year”, Liang added.
Some provinces could face power cuts this summer as a result, the NEA official warned.
China’s energy consumption typically spikes in the summer months due to household demand for air conditioning.
This, combined with a related slump in power from hydro sources due to low rainfall, led to a wave of blackouts across southwest China last year.
Officials have repeatedly stressed the role of coal as a “ballast stone” in the energy mix, even as the country attempts to transition toward a greener, renewables-led power system.
- Reuters with additional editing by Sean O’Meara