Chinese Government Reportedly Planning To Block New Coal-Fired Power Plant Development In 15 Regions

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The Chinese government may finally be making strong moves against further coal energy development in the country, going by recent reports — with news of the blocking of development of new coal-fired power plants in 15 regions apparently having been confirmed by the country’s National Energy Administration.

The regions in question — according to the Southern Energy Observer: Shanxi, Shandong, Inner Mongolia, Hubei, Guangdong, and Yunnan, among others — saw regulators block development owing to worries about growing overcapacity, reportedly.

China flag

The move will lead to substantial carry-on impacts considering that, according to Greenpeace, at least 250 coal-fired power projects will be affected — altogether totaling more than 170 gigawatts (GW) of project electricity generation capacity.

A related move was also recently made by the Chinese National Energy Administration (NEA) that saw regulators postpone new coal-mine developments in the country until at least 2019 — partly owing to overcapacity, and partly owing to worsening air pollution problems in much of the region.

These moves are in parallel to other recent moves made by authorities in China to speed up the rate of renewables adoption — in particular, the NEA recently announced plans for a tripling of solar photovoltaic (PV) generation capacity in the country through 2020.

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James Ayre

James Ayre's background is predominantly in geopolitics and history, but he has an obsessive interest in pretty much everything. After an early life spent in the Imperial Free City of Dortmund, James followed the river Ruhr to Cofbuokheim, where he attended the University of Astnide. And where he also briefly considered entering the coal mining business. He currently writes for a living, on a broad variety of subjects, ranging from science, to politics, to military history, to renewable energy.

James Ayre has 4830 posts and counting. See all posts by James Ayre

8 thoughts on “Chinese Government Reportedly Planning To Block New Coal-Fired Power Plant Development In 15 Regions

  • I wonder why it’s not a general freeze, as in Vietnam? There may be some political theatre here: a selective freeze points the finger at the provincial administrators responsible. The others see the career damage and run for cover.

    It is clear that the Chinese government has badly miscalculated on coal. Dozens of unneeded new coal generating plants are opening, while demand for their output is shrinking as renewables cream off the load, and capacity factors are falling. The structural shift away from heavy industry must have gone faster than expected. 1.3 million coal miners and 500,000 steelworkers will lose their jobs very soon, and need costly retraining and relocation programmes.

    Score one for Hayek: India’s deregulated electricity market meant that for all the government’s gigantic plans for new coal generators, the companies who would have to build them – Reliance, Tata, Adani – were able to sit on their hands and not start big projects that would, as it turns out, have lost them a lot of money.

    • India also carries what I call “second-mover advantage.”

    • China’s central government does not have full control over the provincial governments, just like the US federal government does not control the state governments. There is, if you will, *politics* involved in this — I suspect the central government is targeting the provinces where they believe they can make their orders stick.

  • Nice–wasn’t the reported planning pipeline around 700 plants? So this would be a cut of around 35%, with the hope that many of the remainder won’t get built, either?

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