China says power cuts won’t hit homes in winter, amid crunch

BEIJING (AP) — China’s planning agency on Wednesday said electricity supplies will be high enough to heat homes in the country’s north during the winter, amid a nationwide energy crunch that has seen power cuts in some areas.

Zhao Chenxin, who heads the National Development and Reform Commission, also said China would honor its carbon reduction targets even as it ramps up coal production to meet increased electricity demands.

“All in all, we have the conditions, the resources and the capability to ensure the supply of heating for the winter,” said Zhao.

His remarks follow power cuts aimed at meeting conservation targets and easing the strain on energy supplies that have forced some homes to rely on generators and have meals by the light of cell phones.

While households will pay a standard price for heating and electricity, factories will pay within a range that is 20% higher or lower of that set price as part of an “optimized pricing system,” Zhao said.

That is adjusted from the current ceiling of 10% and floor of 15% and aims to encourage industrial upgrades through the investment in more efficient technologies, Zhao added.

Zhao said coal production was being increased along with natural gas, and energy reserves would be deployed to meet demand.

China is the world’s largest carbon emitter, producing an estimated 27% of global greenhouse gases, followed by the United States. China obtains roughly 60% of its power from coal and is opening more coal-fired power plants, while also committing to reducing its use of the fossil fuel.

The country has set a target of generating 20% of its total energy needs from renewables by 2025, reducing total emissions starting from 2030 and becoming carbon-neutral by 2060.

China is also a world leader in producing solar panels and wind turbines for renewable energy. Despite that, the U.S. and others have urged China to adopt more ambitious efforts to keep rising temperatures to no more than 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit) over pre-industrial levels.

Zhao said there was no conflict between the uptick in coal production and China’s carbon control targets.

“China has always honored our commitments for the goals we have set and and we will do whatever we can to achieve them,” Zhao said.

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