The central government is putting a lid on small coal bed gas and methane projects to head off concerns about their impact on water supplies.
The National Energy Commission said in a notice issued on July 17 that work cannot start on coal bed gas projects of up to 2 billion cubic meters in annual capacity, and coal bed methane projects of up to 1 million metric tonnes in annual output.
Those projects that do meet the capacity requirement still need State Council approval to get up and running, the notice said.
The action was prompted by the detrimental impact some projects have had on water supplies and the environment. Various projects have also fallen down on technical and economic grounds, it said.
The commission also said that provinces that need to import coal should not use their supplies to feed methane and gas projects. The alternative energy source should also not be developed in areas where they will rely on underground water or squeeze residential and agricultural water supplies, the statement said.
New projects must also go on hold in regions that have already used up their water quotas or exceeded pollution limits, it said.
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