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China's coal-fired generation strong despite renewables push: Citi

Singapore — China's coal-fired power generation as a percentage of the total energymix is on the rise for the second year, despite the push towards renewablecapacity additions in the country, Citi analysts said Friday.

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The share of thermal power in the generation mix declined to 73% in 2015from 83% in 2011.

Thermal has since grown to 74% of the mix in 2016 and to 78% inJanuary-February this year, the analysts said.

"Hydropower generation was down 5% year on year in January-February 2017and that contributed to thermal power growing faster than overall powerdemand," they said.

A 5% growth in China's coal-fired power generation would mean anadditional consumption of about 65 million mt of coal, with the size ofthe entire seaborne market at about 850 million mt, the analysts said.

China's January-February total coal imports have surged 48.5% year onyear to 42.61 million mt, according to customs data.

Nuclear and wind -- which account for about 4.8% of the mix -- and solar,which accounts for less than 1%, are continuing to grow at double-digitpercentages, but they are "still a small proportion" of the overallelectricity demand balance, the analysts said.

"While the renewables and hydropower have priority over the grid, thenall the demand growth above 1% year on year overall power demand growth has tobe met through thermal power generation if hydropower does not grow," theanalysts noted.

The analysts said they expect the demand outlook for coal to remainstrong for at least the early part of this year.

--Deepak Kannan, by Wendy Wells,