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Big Win for the Environment! China Shuts Out Construction of 104 Coal Powerplants

Jan 20, 2017 05:00 AM EST
Coal power plant
The high levels of CO2 means we are trapping more heat and causing the climate to change at an accelerating rate. I
(Photo : Kevin Frayer/Getty Images)

China has ordered a halt to over one hundred coal power plants as it attempts to improve their air quality, The National Energy Administration has announced.

The directive says: "The National Energy Board Electricity Division were issued letters of coal production scale of 13 provinces about "Thirteen Five." Involving a total of 85 coal projects require cessation or postponed, totaling 102.45 million kilowatts."

Eighteen facilities has already been suspended last year. The suspension was made in line with Beijing's commitment to a coal capacity cap of 1,100GW, as stated in the electricity chapter of the 13th Five Year Plan.

As per Science Alert, China's capacity would reach 1,250 GW, if the Chinese government has not put the brakes on the coal power plans on the 13 provinces.

Despite the cuts, China is still building far more capacity than it needs. Three times the total coal-fired capacity in the United States and more than the entire coal-fired capacity of Germany, New York Times said.

Aside from cutting down on air pollution, the suspension is also aimed at boosting their renewable energy investment. 

The National Energy Administration previously announced that it would spend 2.5 trillion yuan ($361 billion) into renewable power generation, including wind, hydro, solar and nuclear power, by 2020. According to The Independent, it will generate over 13 million jobs in the sector.

Meanwhile, Green Peace reported that this bold move of China has challenged their economy as the country's coal industry remains to be the major source of employment and GDP. The cancelled plans were worth about 430 billion yuan (US$62 billion).

It also weakens the already struggling coal markets.

"Weaker demand for coal inside China could ultimately lead to higher exports, which would exacerbate the huge supplies of coal sloshing around global markets. The higher supplies could drive down global benchmark prices and hit the bottom lines of major U.S. and international coal producers," Wall Street Journal reports.

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