Date
11 December 2017
China is said to be planning to give more approval powers to local governments on new thermal power projects. Photo: Bloomberg
China is said to be planning to give more approval powers to local governments on new thermal power projects. Photo: Bloomberg

China mulls new approval system for thermal power plants

China’s National Energy Administration (NEA) is planning to gradually alter the approval system for thermal power projects, a move that is expected to result in more powers being given to local governments and enterprises with regard to project allocation, 21st Century Business Herald reported Thursday, citing a source with knowledge of the matter.

At present all thermal power projects need approval from the NEA on case-by-case basis. That procedure is expected to be scrapped in the new system.

Under the plan, the NEA will in future only be responsible for approving the total capacity of thermal power projects through selections and calculation of local power demand. After laying the broad capacity, it will give local governments annual guidelines for them to map out their own plans on how to proceed with construction of individual power plants.

At a conference on power supply planning held in April, He Yongjian, deputy director of NEA’s development and planning department, said the government will devise development of thermal power supply in a 5-to-7-year timeframe and aim to simplify project approval procedures to once a year by issuing bundled plans.

According to the source, the new practice of approval has begun earlier this year, but details of capacity are yet to be decided. A number of development and reform commissions at local levels have been trying to talk the NEA into giving them more share of the total planned capacity.

Meanwhile, there is concern that some governments may use new approval powers to legalize the projects that had previously been shot down, disrupting the industry balance, the report added.

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TL/AC/RC

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