In order to meet the growing demand for electricity, China’s biggest power generator, China Energy Group is planning to build 11 gigawatts (GW) of new coal power during this and next year, according to senior official with the firm on Thursday. More than 6 GW of new ultra-low emission coal-fired capacity will be added this year while another 5 GW is planned for 2020, Xiao Jianying, the head of the state-run firm’s coal-fired power department, told Reuters.
“China still has quite a big demand for electricity. The government now supports regions with poor wind and solar resources to use coal-fired power … it’s a more practical measure, as gas is still too expensive,” said Xiao. China Energy, which operated coal-fired plants with a total capacity of 175 GW, is planning to gradually replace small, polluting coal-fired power unites with efficient ones, noting that total capacity would continue to increase but at a slower rate of growth. China’s coal consumption has steadily decreased by a few percent a year since 2013. In 2018 coal accounted for 59% of China’s total energy consumption, 1.4 percent less than the previous year, and the first time coal has accounted for less than 60% of the total energy used. Committed to suppressing pollution and fighting global warming, China is making a great efforts to control new coal production and new coal-fired power capacity. The authority’s pollution-cutting efforts have eased this year with building centralized “clean coal” heating systems instead of converting them from coal to natural gas or electricity.
As the world’s biggest greenhouse gas producer, China is aiming to bring its total emissions to a peak by “around 2030.” According to China’s environmental ministry, citing the latest carbon “inventory” submitted to the United Nations, China’s climate-warming greenhouse gas emissions hit 12.3 billion tonnes in 2014, up 53.5% in just a decade.