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China's electricity price from gas drops, but still over 30% higher than coal: NEA

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China's electricity price from gas drops, but still over 30% higher than coal: NEA

Highlights

Average on-grid price from gas units down 4% on year

PV on-grid price highest among generation sources

Singapore — China's on-grid price of electricity from gas-fired power units has fallen, but it's still over 30% higher than the cost of coal-fired power generation in 2018, latest data released from the National Energy Administration showed.

The average price of electricity generated from gas-fired power units was at Yuan 584.10/MWh in 2018, about 36% higher than the coal-fired on-grid price, the NEA data showed. However, the cost of gas has significantly declined close to 4% from Yuan 607.23/MWh in 2017.

Though China has pushed for more gas usage in recent years, the cost of gas in power generation has still been a concern as Chinese power plants are trying to keep costs low.

The energy watchdog said the average price of electricity produced by coal-fired power units across China was Yuan 373.87/MWh ($53.32/MWh) in 2018, up 0.95% on the year. Hunan Province in central China has the most expensive coal-fired on-grid price at Yuan 459/MWh, while the price is the cheapest at Yuan 215.12/MWh in north-western Xinjiang Autonomous Region, the data showed.

The average on-grid price of electricity produced by hydro power plants in 2018 was at Yuan 267.19/MWh, down 0.26% from a year ago, with the lowest price at Yuan 198.71/MWh in Yunnan province, southwestern China.

Market sources in China said that while electricity price from hydro power is the cheapest, the source of generation is subjected to seasonal supply.

"The affordability of coal in power generation is still the main reason power plants continue to turn to this fossil fuel," said an east China-based coal analyst.

The average on-grid price of photovoltaic power has been the highest among the various power generation sources at Yuan 859.79/MWh in 2018, though it dropped from Yuan 874.71/MWh a year ago.

-- Hui Min Lee, hui.min.lee@spglobal.com

-- Edited by Nurul Darni, newsdesk@spglobal.com