Date
4 December 2016
Coal will make up about 55 percent of the electricity mix by 2020, down from about two-thirds in recent years. Photo: Reuters
Coal will make up about 55 percent of the electricity mix by 2020, down from about two-thirds in recent years. Photo: Reuters

China ramps up coal power despite climate pledge

China will raise coal power capacity by as much as 20 percent by 2020, ensuring a continuing strong role for the commodity in the country’s energy sector despite a pledge to bring down pollution levels.

In a new five-year plan for electricity released Monday, the National Energy Administration said it would raise coal-fired power capacity to as high as 1,100 gigawatts by 2020 from about 900 gigawatts last year the Wall Street Journal reports.

The roughly 200-gigawatt increase alone is more than the total power capacity of Canada.

By comparison, the agency said it would increase non-fossil fuel sources to 15 percent from about 12 percent of the country’s energy mix over the same period.

Coal would still make up about 55 percent of the electricity mix by 2020, down from about two-thirds in recent years.

“This is indeed a disappointing target,” said Lauri Myllyvirta, a campaigner at the environmental group Greenpeace.

“Given that there is already severe overcapacity and demand for coal-fired power is going down, we would have expected a cap on coal power capacity much closer to the current capacity level.”

Greenpeace said China already had some 200 gigawatts of coal-fired capacity under construction, meaning that meeting its 13th Five Year Plan goal would require the government to halt some new projects and retire some existing plants.

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