L A Times “Green China” Latest News

Guest essay by Larry Hamlin

The September 17, 2023 edition of the L A Times published the latest China Watch section (shown below) which highlights a large Solar PV project in Chongqing where a 37 MW facility on the rooftop of a large car manufacturing company went into operation in April of this year.

This large PV project is touted as being able to save 264,500 short tons of coal use over its planned 25-year life.

Energy Institute data shows that China’s coal energy use increased by about 1% between 2021 and 2022 representing a growth in coal consumption from 4.68 billion short tons in 2021 to about 4.73 billion short tons in 2022 with further growth expected to occur through at least year 2030.

In year 2018 China consumed about 4.38 billion short tons of coal which has now increased during the 5-year period through 2022 by about 350 million short tons according to EIA and Energy Institute data. 

The 25 year expected savings in coal consumption of this PV project represents about 0.5% of the yearly coal use increase that occurred between 2021 and 2022 and about 0.075% of the 5-year increase in coal use that occurred between 2018 and 2022.

Stated another way it would take about 200 PV projects like this each operating for 25 years to save an amount of coal equivalent to the yearly increase of China’s coal use just between 2021 and 2022

Given the continuing growth of China’s huge coal use that has occurred over the last 5 years it is abundantly clear China will continue to depend and rely upon coal as its primary energy resource for the foreseeable future.     

5 22 votes
Article Rating
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
September 21, 2023 6:09 am

Did you subtract out the coal it took to build the solar array? And are the calculating that on the nameplate or the 25% of nameplate that they actually will get?

Joseph Zorzin
Reply to  Globaltrvlr
September 21, 2023 7:36 am

There should be an worldwide agreement to end the nameplate numbers and use only real numbers. This nameplate number thing is kinda like a new kind of irrational number like the square root of minus 1. It’s meaningless.

Reply to  Joseph Zorzin
September 21, 2023 10:02 am

Not to be pedantic, but the square root of minus 1 is an imaginary number, which is even more appropriate to your analogy.

Joseph Zorzin
Reply to  slowroll
September 21, 2023 12:06 pm

that was my point- I meant imaginary, not irrational- not even sure if there is such a thing as an irrational number

Reply to  Joseph Zorzin
September 21, 2023 12:56 pm

An irrational number is one that cannot be expressed exactly as a fraction using integers.. eg π

Reply to  bnice2000
September 21, 2023 1:01 pm

And , of course, all square roots of numbers that are not perfect squares. cube roots.. etc etc

Jason S.
Reply to  Joseph Zorzin
September 21, 2023 12:57 pm

I can’t believe nobody took advantage of this great setup, so here it goes. I would say every number the current administration puts out regarding the economics of green energy is irrational

JD Lunkerman
Reply to  Jason S.
September 21, 2023 1:26 pm

The irrationality exceeds the imaginary square root of all the fractions, cubes and squares propounded since the beginning of the global warming madness. Divided by a subset of rascim pi. Times infinity.

Reply to  Joseph Zorzin
September 21, 2023 3:54 pm

There already is a worldwide agreement in place and it is scrupulously adhered to by almost all media;

Reply to  Globaltrvlr
September 21, 2023 3:49 pm

25% is an extremely high capacity factor for solar in most locations.

Reply to  Globaltrvlr
September 21, 2023 11:33 pm

And have they made due allowance for all the plant sitting idle when there is no sun. Car manufacturing is capital intensive. They would have the plant sitting idle for 85% of the time if it was relying on just solar. So what allowance is there for the back up power when there is no sunlight.

China is making some effort to show they are as stupid as the west while burning ever more coal to make useless stuff that the west are spending their future prosperity on.

September 21, 2023 6:28 am

China gives everyone the runaround

Bodhisattva, Bodhisattva

I’m gonna sell my house in town
I’m gonna sell my house in town

And I’ll be there to shine in your Japan
To sparkle in your China, yes, I’ll be there
Bodhisattva, Bodhisattva

No sign of that changing

don k
September 21, 2023 7:06 am

China — now the world’s biggest CO2 emitter — and home to four times the population of the US, twice the population of the EU — has made it abundantly clear that their number one priority is providing a decent standard of living for their population. They say they are planning to cut back on coal use in the mid 2030s. One suspects that’s because they expect to start running out of coal about then. In the meantime, they look to be generating energy wherever it seems most practical. Wind, solar (they plan to increase wind and solar nameplate capacity by 50% in the next 7 years), nuclear(21 plants under construction), natural gas, coal.

I don’t know about anyone else, but I don’t see anything wrong with that. Really, would a bit more pragmatic concern over the welfare of their population do most Western countries all that much harm?

Reply to  don k
September 21, 2023 7:47 am

India is also placing growth first and is building more new coal plants.

Reply to  don k
September 21, 2023 8:28 am

There’s nothing wrong with China building power plants of any kind. What’s wrong is the LA Times praising China as a virtuous “renewable energy” champion.

John Hultquist
Reply to  don k
September 21, 2023 9:42 am

They say they are planning to cut back on coal use in the mid 2030s. “

I think the idea is that the “increase” (year on year) will not be necessary while the use will continue. The “cleaner” facilities now being built will last 50 years, give or take a few. The population will be declining.
 At present rates of consumption, world coal reserves should last more than 300–500 years.

Reply to  don k
September 21, 2023 3:51 pm

Nothing wrong with that plan at all, for China, except that nameplate capacity is no way to plan for reality Why should the US cut back on energy use when we can’t possibly offset China’s and India’s increased emissions (as if that would actually save the “burning earth”)?

Reply to  rwisrael
September 22, 2023 5:54 am

Why should any country cut back on every use if the emissions will have negligible effect on the climate, and even if it was noticeable above the background level, it was a positive, desirable effect?

It’s enough that a country builds power plants that are state of the art in efficiency, safety and pollution control – worrying about CO2 emissions is “chasing after windmills”.

Reply to  don k
September 21, 2023 3:57 pm

welfare of their population or of their military and party members?

Reply to  AndyHce
September 22, 2023 5:57 am

True but it seems that the average Chinese is getting a taste of the prosperity too. Enslaved minorities and political prisoners not so much.

Reply to  don k
September 22, 2023 5:08 am

From November 2014


Para 3.
Today, the Presidents of the United States and China announced their respective post-2020 actions on climate change, recognizing that these actions are part of the longer range effort to transition to low-carbon economies, mindful of the global temperature goal of 2℃. The United States intends to achieve an economy-wide target of reducing its emissions by 26%-28% below its 2005 level in 2025 and to make best efforts to reduce its emissions by 28%. China intends to achieve the peaking of CO2 emissions around 2030 and to make best efforts to peak early and intends to increase the share of non-fossil fuels in primary energy consumption to around 20% by 2030. Both sides intend to continue to work to increase ambition over time.

James Snook
September 21, 2023 7:14 am

I am constantly amazed at the way climate commentators fawn over China for its Green ‘credentials’.The Energy Institute’s figures for 2022 show that these credentials are, in reality, non existent.

The reality is that they have kicked the Paris Agreement into the long grass. The CPC’s main priority will always be itself, its the first rule of autocratic survival.

don k
Reply to  James Snook
September 21, 2023 9:06 am

As “developing countries” (which, in fairness, they are) China and India have no actual obligations under the Paris Accord. Of course, 75 or 80 percent of humanity lives in developing countries. The obvious to me reality that greenhouse gas emissions from the developing countries as their standards of living and populations increase will surely swamp any emission reductions in the developed world seems entirely lost on the IPCC bureaucracy.

China has sort of promised to increase their percentage of non-fossil fuel energy, but that doesn’t mean they’ve promised to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Quite the contrary. They seemingly plan to produce and consume much more energy than they do today. They are just saying that they hope their additional energy will be less fossil fuel dependent than their current mix is.

Reply to  don k
September 21, 2023 9:19 am

I believe that China has sort of promised to increase the amount of non-fossil fuel energy, not the percentage.
Given how fast China is building coal plants alone, there’s no way they are going to be able to build enough non-fossil fuel energy sources to increase the percentage.

Joseph Zorzin
September 21, 2023 7:34 am

but the greens will always make excuses for China

James Snook
Reply to  Joseph Zorzin
September 21, 2023 8:48 am

It’s strange isn’t it. It mostly crops up when one says that the West is impoverishing itself with its net zero obsession whilst the priority of the bulk of the rest world is to drag billions out of poverty rather than reducing emissions.

Ah, they say, but look at what China is doing…., and come up with examples which bear no relation to reality. There is one regular poster on climate related articles in The Times of London, who insists that 50% of China’s electricity is generated by renewables and just won’t stop repeating it!

Reply to  James Snook
September 21, 2023 9:21 am

Some people would rather believe a comfortable fantasy, than deal with harsh reality.

James Snook
Reply to  MarkW
September 21, 2023 9:58 am

Well said. Net zero in a nutshell.

Reply to  Joseph Zorzin
September 21, 2023 9:55 am

China doesn’t need green credibility, it’s already communist….

Reply to  Joseph Zorzin
September 21, 2023 12:10 pm

China is already communist, so the Greens have nothing to gain there

Just keep this in mind: all environmental problems are due to rapacious capitalism.

September 21, 2023 7:43 am

“China Watch” is blatant propaganda that show up in Progressive newspapers across the country. It should be marked as ‘advertisement’.

Rud Istvan
September 21, 2023 8:06 am

China burns the coal to make the PV. Cannot get there from here.

Russell Cook
September 21, 2023 8:11 am

” …. touted as being able to save 264,500 short tons***

***(Under ideal operating conditions)

Imagine all the weather events that could render this facility largely inoperative – hailstorms, microburst winds, Bill Gates’ sun-blocking project …..

Reply to  Russell Cook
September 21, 2023 9:22 am

Heck, the output of solar panels decreases as they age.
There’s also dust and windstorms that cause damage to the panels.

Reply to  Russell Cook
September 21, 2023 10:09 am

Very similar to touting plate capacity of windmills to gain acceptance.

Dave Andrews
September 21, 2023 8:17 am

Global coal demand reached a record high in 2022 rising to over 8.3bn tonnes. 10,440 TWh of electricity generation came from coal – equivalent to 36% of total electricity generation.

China’s use of coal rose to a high of 4519Mt, India’s consumption of coal rose 8% to 1155Mt, whilst Indonesian coal demand soared by 36% making it the 5th largest coal consumer after China, India, US and Russia

China and India together consume double the amount of coal as the rest of the world By 2024 China, India and the ASEAN region is expected to rise to 76% of coal consumption

All info from IEA Coal Market Update July 27th 2023.

John Oliver
September 21, 2023 8:32 am

Pravda’s of the late USSR, the CIA, current main stream media: all masters of dis, mis, information controlled opposition and the propaganda willingly consumed by the useful idiots. Sometimes I hate being mean about it because when I encounter some of the people that fall for this crap it is almost like telling them there is no Santa or Easter bunny. The votes of said people could destroy us once and for all in 2024. Take your best shot a deprograming em; this is it, times almost up.

September 21, 2023 8:52 am

The LATimes doesn’t fawn over China because it is green but because it is communist.

Reply to  Giving_Cat
September 21, 2023 9:13 am

The LA Times was bought by a Chinese man several years ago. I bet he didn’t pay for it himself.

September 21, 2023 8:58 am

Americans and American media are just as clueless today about China as they were about Germany in the 1930s.

Reply to  ResourceGuy
September 21, 2023 9:25 am

Most of the elite supported Germany and Hitler, they believed that Fascism (a form of socialism) was the wave of the future and they wanted to make sure that they would be amongst the leaders of this new world order.
Socialists and communists were also very supportive of Germany, until Germany attacked Russia.

Reply to  MarkW
September 21, 2023 12:17 pm

Too few people are aware of what you have said. Nazism was Nationalist Socialism as opposed to the International Socialism directed from Moscow. But socialism. Not capitalism.

Nazism grew on the Left first. Then Hitler coopted the militarist nationalists with his Aryan fantasies.

Ed Reid
September 21, 2023 9:14 am

It’s bad enough that our “newspapers” are “house organs” for our own government, no less for unfriendly foreign governments.

September 21, 2023 9:16 am

This large PV project is touted as being able to save 264,500 short tons of coal use over its planned 25-year life.

Anyone who believes that probably also believes in unicorns and fairies.

To achieve this number, you have to use impossible utilization rates, you also have to believe there will me no drop in output from these panels over this time. The panels never get dusty, they never get scratched during the cleaning that they don’t need, and that there is no decrease as the panels age.

Also, just believing that the panels will last 25 years is unrealistic.

Dr. Bob
September 21, 2023 9:43 am

Carbon in coal is converted to CO2 with a mass 3.66 times that of carbon itself. So a million tons of coal emits close to 3.6 million tons of CO2. Hard to impact the global CO2 emissions equation with solar, wind or any other renewable power source. That is assuming it is important (critical?) to do this at all.

Larry Hamlin
September 21, 2023 9:59 am

There is nothing wrong with China or other nations using cost effective and efficient fossil fuels to meet their energy needs. The L A Times hypes China’s “Green Energy” while ignoring its massive fossil fuels use and at the same time demands a “climate emergency” declaration in the U.S. to force shutdowns of U.S. fossil fuels while only “allowing” use of “net zero green energy” which hugely drives up costs and destroys reliability. That’s hypocritical and idiotic.

Kit P
September 21, 2023 10:50 am

The 25 year expected savings…

My expectation is these PV will be TU in five years. This based on 30 years of observation.

Leadership is not doing something 50 years after the US has done it. The US has been the leader in nuclear power for 70 years. My last nuke plant before retiring was in China.


China could no longer produce enough slave labor coal. Although my local US coal plants are closed, the daily coal trains on both sides of the river are sending coal to China.

China is the most dependent country on the US Navy in the world because it imports 75% of its food and energy.

I watched a video of 7 Chinese ships dangerously interfere with the navigation of a ship of another country in that countries waters the day after USN and two navies conducted a passage in the Taiwan Straights.

I expect China to be TU years. It is already FUBAR. China has been hostile with at least five countries that have the naval power to keep food and energy from getting to Chinese ports.

China has no friends. The Chinese people who live under the CCP do not have a bright future which is a big change since I worked in China.

September 21, 2023 11:08 am

Those who wrote and approved this story should all be fired.

Reply to  Bob
September 21, 2023 10:53 pm

Probably get a Pulitzer instead, lol. Strange days we live in……

Verified by MonsterInsights