Texas power outrage highlights potential challenges during energy transition

sxcoal.com Viewpoint 2021-02-20 14:15:04

Texas's widespread power blackouts following record-low temperatures have caused millions of people in the dark and cold, and over 20 died.


While the power failure was mainly ascribed to Texas' go-it-alone power system that left it isolated from power support in neighboring states when faced with power shortage, and also due to unusual cold snaps that peaked power consumption and disrupted supply of natural gas – the major energy source in winter – with production disruption and pipeline blockage, it sheds light on potential risks of unstable energy supplies as a result of the transition from conventional to clean energy sources.


Disruption of wind power supply in Texas as wind turbines iced up amid cold temperatures was also a small part to blame for the outage, as it only accounts for 7% of total electricity supply of the state in February, according to New York Times.


However, the growing reliance on wind power as the world is shifting to more environmentally friendly energy sources would make power grid more vulnerable in severe weather conditions.


Countries that are moving actively toward renewable energy and away from traditional sources such as coal are likely to experience more frequent blackouts especially during the period of peak consumption and extreme weather. And compared with coal-fired power, supply of solar, wind and hydro power, the three popular renewable sources, are more constrained by season and weather. However,


Since the development in environment-friendly energy has been on track to an irreversible trend amid global goal to cut carbon emission, improving electricity transmission and storage technology is believed to be a major direction to avoid future power crisis.


In coal-dependence China, the average curtailment of wind and solar power declined significantly to 3% and 2% respectively in 2020, but it remained high at some new energy-rich areas.


Wind curtailment in Xinjiang and Gandu still high at about 10.3% and 6.4% last year, People's Daily reported citing Zhang Lin, deputy director of the industry development and environmental resources department of the China Electricity Council.


The bottleneck of effective connection of renewable power to grid should still be paid attention in the following years, as China targets to increase the share of renewable power generation from 9.7% presently to 16.7% in average, and 35% in some western provinces by 2025, Zhang said.


Renewable energy accounted for only a small part in China's winter power generation.


In December, hydro, solar and wind power generation made up for about 17.5% of the country's total, compared with 77.6% of coal-fired power, according to National Bureau of Statics, even though the country's installed renewable energy capacity increased to 49.1% of the total.


(Writing by Emma Yang  Editing by Harry Huo)
For any questions, please contact us by inquiry@fwenergy.com or +86-351-7219322.

Share this article
Connect with us

Editor's Pick

1 Indonesian thermal coal prices retreat as high shipping costs dent demand 2021-02-26

Indonesian thermal coal prices dropped slightly in the Chinese seaborne import market on a lack of demand as high freight rates, due to a surge in freight rates for Supramax and Panamax vessels, are c

2 Weekly global coal market news summary (Feb 22-Feb 26) 2021-02-26

High shipping cost hampers demand for Indonesian thermal coal Indonesian thermal coal market witnessed a thinly traded session on February 24, as demand was curbed by a surge in freight rates

3 Weekly China coal market news summary (Feb 22-Feb 26) 2021-02-26

Coal in China's energy mix drops to 57% in 2020, beating 13th Five-Year target Coal consumption share in China's energy mix declined from 60.4% in 2017 to 57% in 2020, according to a conferenc

4 Coal in China's energy mix drops to 57% in 2020, beating 13th Five-Year target 2021-02-26

Coal consumption share in China's energy mix declined from 60.4% in 2017 to 57% in 2020, according to a conference release on February 25, beating its target of 58% for the 13th Five-Year Plan period.

5 China's state council urges to boost mine safety 2021-02-26

China's state council is urging local governments to strengthen grips on safety measures in the mining industry, according to a government notice issued on February 24. The notice stresse

6 China to rein in building new coal-fired capacity for deeper green transition 2021-02-26

China will keep a firm grip on building new coal-fired power capacity as part of a drive to deepen its green energy transition, according to a document issued by the State Council. But th

7 China hopes Australia can do more for a lift of ban on coal import 2021-02-25

China hopes Australia can do more to boost mutual trust and cooperation, said an official with the commerce ministry. This is the latest statement from Beijing on the coal trading deadlock with Canber

8 N China's Qinhuangdao coal stocks rebound above 6 Mt 2021-02-25

Coal stockpiles at the major trading port of Qinhuangdao in northern China have recovered to above 6 million tonnes for the first time in over half a year, due to accelerated inbound arrivals vis-a-vi

9 Non-power demand edges up for Chinese thermal coal; prices continue to fall 2021-02-25

Emerging demand for spot thermal coal, most of which came from cement producers, at China's northern major trading ports helped slow the decline in prices, fueling expectations of a pickup in March.

10 China domestic coking coal prices further drop; import coal edge weakens 2021-02-25

Chinese domestic coking coal prices dropped further at wider production areas, with premium, gas and lean coal showing around 30 yuan/t decline in Shanxi recently. The decline came along

Most Read Articles

1 China's coking coal sentiment weakens amid coke price fallback 2021-02-23

Chinese coking coal miners were increasingly bearish over the near-term price trend, as coke prices started to decline this week and demand for feed coal dropped at both coking plants and steel mills.

2 Indonesia Jan coal exports down 7.37% on yr 2021-02-23

Indonesian coal exports maintained at high level in January 2021 after a spike in December 2020, mainly owing to large demand from China. Indonesia exported a total 36.7 million tonnes of

3 High shipping cost hampers demand for Indonesian thermal coal 2021-02-24

Indonesian thermal coal market witnessed a thinly traded session on February 24, as demand was curbed by a surge in freight rates for Supramax and Panamax vessels, according to traders. A

4 Indonesia plans to cancel royalties for coal usage of downstream sector 2021-02-23

Indonesia is planning to remove royalty payments for coal used in domestic downstream sectors in an effort to push its coal processing industries to develop, according to a report by Reuters on Februa

5 Thermal coal stocks growing rapidly at N China's major ports 2021-02-23

Thermal coal stockpiles are increasing dramatically at northern transshipment ports of China, as downstream buyers are not ready to boost restocking given current low consumption and high stocks at ut

6 China Three Gorges to buy 400MW renewable assets in Spain 2021-02-23

China Three Gorges Corp. has reached an agreement to buy operational wind and solar farms in Spain with a combined capacity over 400 MW. The renewable portfolio includes 11 winds farms an

7 There's still a big room for coal power tariff reform in China 2021-02-23

A new coal power pricing mechanism took effective in China from January 1, 2020 in place of the previous benchmark coal tariff, which has been used since 2004. However, after being implem

8 China hopes Australia can do more for a lift of ban on coal import 2021-02-25

China hopes Australia can do more to boost mutual trust and cooperation, said an official with the commerce ministry. This is the latest statement from Beijing on the coal trading deadlock with Canber

9 Indian utilities coal imports fall for 3rd mth in Jan on high stocks 2021-02-23

Indian power generators imported 3.87 million tonnes of thermal coal in January, slumping 30.9% from the previous year and 5.15% from December 2020, falling for the third month in a row, showed the

10 Trading activity still thin in China's spot thermal coal market 2021-02-24

Trading activities remained weak in the Chinese domestic thermal coal market as most coastal utilities were not ready to start restocking, though inquiries were rising from end buyers. Of