China's State Grid says coal stocks sustainable as demand for power supply rises with snow

08:20, November 19, 2009      

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Coal stocks for power plants were above the "alert" level in snow-hit regions in China, which would ensure adequate and continuous power supply, a senior official of State Grid Corp. of China (SGCC) told Xinhua Wednesday.

Currently the accumulative coal stocks for power plants directly supplying electricity to the SGCC are about 27 million tons, according to the SGCC.

Power distribution network of SGCC, the country's largest powertransmission and distribution company, covers 88 percent of the country's territory, and provides electricity for 1 billion people.

The "alert level" for coal stocks differed in different power plants in different regions, said the official, who asked to be unnamed. For power plants near coal mines, 3 days of use would be an "alert level", and less than 7 days of use would be an alert for power plants in central Hunan Province, he said.

"Coal stocks are nothing to worry about," the official said. "The crucial thing is the follow-up refill which depends highly ontransportation."

The snowfall, which began on Nov. 9, was unseen in decades in some northern and central provinces including Hebei, Shanxi and Henan, paralyzing traffics and hindering coal transportation.

"The power supply in the north would not be a big problem as the snow did not affect the railway much and the highways are recovering for traffic," he said.

About 70 percent of coal supply in north China are transportedby railway from Shanxi Province, and about 30 percent by highway, he added.

The snow continued to move southward and blanket Anhui and Hubei provinces on Monday, spurring concerns it would cause troubles for power supply like the snow storm in early 2008, whichparalyzed power lines in the southern part of the country.

Compared with the damage of the snow storm last year, the snow and blizzard this year caused little damage to the electricity facilities, according to the SGCC.

Shanghai, the country's business hub in the east, faced a shortage of coal for power generation after 4 power-generating sets stopped working caused by a sudden surge of power demand, thecity's government said in a notice on its web site Wednesday.

The shortage was a result of hindered coal transportation from the Qinhuangdao Port, the country's largest coal port, which provided a major part of coal for power plants in the south and along the Yangtze River.

The coal supply was affected by the snow in the north and the thick coastal fog, but the situation had got better as the weather cleared up, the official said.

The daily coal throughput at Qinhuangdao climbed from 523,000 tons on Nov. 11 to 667,000 tons on Nov. 17, according to the data provided by the Qinhuangdao port. Coal inventory reduced to 7.8 million tons on Nov. 17 from more than 8.5 million tons on Nov. 11.

Nearly 100 ships carrying coal left the Qinhuangdao port safely Tuesday, heading for power plants in south China.

The rainy and snowy weather along the Yangtze River area in southern China are expected to end at this coming Saturday, according to weather forecasts on website of China's National Meteorological Center.

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