A glut of new coal-fired power stations endangers China’s green ambitions

Why build them when they struggle to sell their electricity?

5/23/2020 9:12:00 AM

Last year coal-fired generating capacity expanded in China by 37GW—more than the amount by which it grew globally

Why build them when they struggle to sell their electricity?

HINA IS HOMEto half the world’s coal-fired power stations, the most polluting type of generator. Their share of the country’s electricity market is shrinking as nuclear plants and renewables slowly elbow them off the grid. But Chinese investors and local governments are still keen on them. Last year coal-fired generating capacity expanded in China by 37

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GW(factoring in plant closures)—more than the amount by which it grew globally. China has been relaxing curbs on building such plants. That suggests more to come.Work on many of the new coal-fired stations began after the central government gave local officials greater freedom to approve construction at the end of 2014. The aim was to cut red tape, not to ramp up the burning of coal. But it resulted in a blizzard of new permits. Within about a year provinces had approved enough new plants to expand China’s coal-powered generating capacity by a quarter.

China does not need a lot more power. Its economy is growing less energy-intensive as it relies less on manufacturing and construction. Lately coal-power plants have been able to sell less than half the electricity they are able to produce, down from 60% a decade ago. But local governments see any big construction project as a potential boost to growth. Some also have coal-mining industries to protect.

In 2016, recognising its mistake, the central government began clawing back the authority it had devolved to the provinces. But it worried that halting projects would threaten local economies, so it allowed many of those under way to proceed. Soon it began to relax curbs on the approval of new stations. In January China had 135

GWof coal-power capacity either permitted or under construction, says Global Energy Monitor, anNGOin San Francisco. That is equal to about half the total coal-power capacity in America.The new power stations will not be put to full use. They will face fierce competition from renewable energy. China’s capacity for producing this is also growing fast. Plants using coal risk limits on their output imposed by governments to improve air quality. Instead of increasing the total amount of electricity China gets from coal, new stations may simply pinch operating hours from existing ones.

That would be a problem for power-firms’ balance sheets. But the world may also suffer. China’s targets to reduce carbon emissions remain too low. The economic blow it has suffered as a result of covid-19 will deter it from making new pledges that could restrain its freedom to boost growth with the help of large and dirty building-projects. The glut of underused, debt-laden power stations could further weaken China’s emissions-cutting resolve.

By building so many new coal-fired plants, China has wasted money that could have been spent more greenly, and given vested interests more reason to try to delay its energy transition. The big state-owned firms that operate coal-burning generators are also being relied upon by the government to produce much of China’s renewable energy, notes Lauri Myllyvirta of the Helsinki-based Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air. But they would rather not hasten the closure of carbon-spewing power stations that they had intended to keep working for a good three decades.

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Coal is not good for the China's per capita carbon emissions are less than 80% of those of your country. Please do not use misleading pictures to influence the reader's judgment. The Paris Accord allows China to double their carbon emissions over the next 10 years. They already represent almost 30% of global emissions lmao. They have already said their target of 20% renewable energy by 2030 is extremely unlikely and won't happen. They are not green

Where’s Greta? Fake news. China is not and will not go green. Not cool China has been grabbing manufacturing jobs,by undercutting the West, using cheap coal plants and tripling the global CO2 emissions by claiming “developing”country exemption. Chinese goods should be boycotted till it shuts down coal burning power plants. CLIMATE ACCORD IS OBSOLETE

As we all know, the United States consumes the most resources. The Chinese are famous for their thrift. They are polliting and the virus China 🇨🇳 Yay China, global warming-aru! Just so people are aware, China is the highest producer of solar energy in the world. More than double second place, USA. 😂😂😂 You really are clowns. No superpower govt cares about CO2 as long as they get their oil money and deforest to get expensive wood. Each of them wants to make as much money as possible before a world govt comes to save the doomed planet.

I often anger fellow environmentalists (and I am indeed one) by saying this but I'd rather a usually benign *well run* nuclear power plant than a coal fired plant any day. To anser the question, China is bucking up a failing sector of their economy. Again. That math doesn’t make any sense. When the rest of the world is talking about global heating, clearly Communist China doesn’t give a damn

No worries. China will mothball most of this capacity as they sell carbon credits to European companies. It is a huge money scam. Chinese taking advantage of ridiculous European climate policies. want to know whether this is because of the increase of coal utilization rate or simply the increase of coal using

Все будет хорошо Why hasn't GretaThunberg gone over to tell them how naughty they are? Wait, people thought China had 'green' ambitions? That's embarrassing.

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