Two mothballed coal power plants in China’s northwest will start pumping out electricity again. This comes after coal-power-related issues drove widespread energy outages and rationing around the country in September and October, denting production in some sectors.

Soaring prices of coal left power producers reluctant to replenish their dwindling stocks; pandemic and mine-safety-driven supply disruptions; an economic recovery that brought significant electricity demand; and ambitious efforts to cut carbon emissions — all drove
up costs.

The two Gansu Province plants are owned by China Huaneng Group. Due to persistent losses, one stopped production in 2017 and the other in 2018. It will take six months to get them running again, the state-owned company’s local branch said.

One of the plants in Gangu will have 660,000 kilowatts (kW) of capacity. 

The two plants will generate electricity during “peak load” periods of higher demand, according to the statement. 

In August, the country’s energy authorities encouraged renewable energy generators to increase their power-storage capabilities to help combat this problem. 

In a February briefing, Fu Bingbin, an official at grid giant State Grid Corp. of China’s Gansu branch, said the province will soon resume production at several suspended coal power projects and will make plans for new “clean, efficient, advanced and energy-saving” coal-fired power plants near wind and solar power bases.