Cold snap puts pressure on China’s coal stocks

China urgently needs more coal, but with a cold snap sweeping across large parts of the country since January 9, the government has been forced to ration electricity for industrial use in some provinces.

According to official data, coal stockpiles at the Central China grid network only had ten days' worth of the resource at the end of 2009, as opposed to the recommended 15 days.

As of January 3, 2010, China had taken 4,780 megawatts linked to its main network offline, according to the country's major grid operator, the State Grid Corporation of China.

In early 2008, seven percent of China's coal-fired power generation capacity was shut down due to severe snowstorms cutting the transportation of the fuel.

In 2009, China's overall electricity consumption rose nearly six percent to 3,643 billion kilowatt-hours, the National Energy Administration said.

Coal-based thermal power plants generate about 90 percent of the country's supply.

Tracey Jia

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