China’s efforts to secure energy supply have “achieved initial results”, but coal production must be ramped up to ensure power capacity ahead of the frigid winter months, the nation’s Vice-Premier Han Zheng has said. The world’s No 2 economy is slowly recovering from its most severe energy crunch in decades and, although it is easing , analysts warn unseasonably cold weather could cause further coal shortages, with knock-on effects felt throughout the supply chain. “Efforts to secure power supply have achieved initial results, coal production capacity has been released, prices are gradually back to normal,” Han said in a statement on Tuesday. “We must firmly establish a sense of the bigger picture and consolidate the results of maintaining supply and stable prices, to ensure that people stay warm through the winter.” Han also emphasised the government’s ongoing efforts to crack down on illicit activities that bid up coal prices, provide help to struggling power companies, and to develop contingency plans in preparation for extreme weather. His message, which follows earlier government pledges to boost energy supply, comes as the country recovers from a power crunch, caused primarily by coal shortages , that saw swathes of the country suffer blackouts. With cooler winter weather arriving early this year, China has introduced a series of policies to lower energy prices and ramp up coal production to reassure companies and the public. Still, the nation faces a number of challenges to secure power supply, including lingering electricity shortages, rising energy consumption and limited generation capacity, according to a report published by The Economist Intelligence Unit on Wednesday. 5 things you need to know about China’s power crisis “Global energy consumption will rise by 2.2 per cent in 2022 as economies recover from the impact of the pandemic,” the report said. “Energy prices will stay firmer than in recent years, as demand recovers and supply bottlenecks continue to disrupt power generation. Many energy companies will need to undertake an urgent review of their strategies in 2022, as governments and investors ramp up pressure to cut emissions.” An unusually cold winter is likely to cause more coal shortages in China, which will make it harder for both manufacturers and retailers to meet recovering demand in 2022, the report said. As a result, there could be knock-on effects for companies all along the logistics chain. To prevent further volatility, the National Development and Reform Commission, China’s top economic planning agency, will also work with relevant parties to increase coal production and supply , and monitor and intervene in high prices, Meng Wei, the commission’s spokesperson said, during a press conference on Tuesday. Coal production has been steadily increasing since last month, according to National Bureau of Statistics data. Coal output last month was 360 million tonnes, a year-on-year increase of 4 per cent, and since October, coal supply in power plants continued to exceed consumption. On November 14, Chinese power plants had 129 million tonnes of coal stored, enough for 22 days’ usage, an increase of 9 days compared to the end of September. In China’s three northeastern provinces, the coldest in the country, power plants have stored more than 14 million tonnes of coal, enough for 31 days of consumption.