Skip to content
Thomson Reuters
Climate & Energy

China to slow energy project construction, shifts to capacity cuts-Xinhua

Kathy Chen

11 Jul 2016

(Reuters) China will ban the construction of new coal-based chemical facilities and coal-fired power plants until 2018 and continue to shed overcapacity in coal mining and oil refining, state news agency Xinhua reported on Monday.

As part of China’s 2016-2020 energy plan, expected to be officially unveiled soon, the new measures will cap total national energy consumption at 5 billion tonnes of standard coal equivalent by 2020, and put a ceiling on coal consumption at 4.1 billion tonnes, Xinhua reported. Coal equivalent measures the energy given off by different fuels in a standardised way regardless of type, such as coal, oil or natural gas.

The ban on projects should cut coal’s share of the overall mix to 58 percent from 64 percent currently, and help achieve the government’s target to phase out 500 million tonnes of coal production by 2020.

“The government’s control over coal and refineries with severe over-capacity will be tougher. The extent of new plant approvals in 2019-20 will depend on the results of the capacity elimination,” said an unnamed official involved in the planning cited by Xinhua.

Energy consumption in the world’s second-largest economy rose at a record low rate of 1.5 percent in 2015, while coal consumption declined by 1.5 percent.

China’s oil refineries are operating at a utilization rate 15 percent lower than the global average, and only new refineries that replace eliminated capacity will be approved, the official said.

The government will limit the installation of new coal-fired power plants by around 1,050 gigawatts (GW) by 2020. The production of coal-to-oil and coal-to-gas will be around 13 million tonnes and 18 billion cubic meters respectively by 2020, said Xinhua.

The world’s biggest renewable energy producer will also slow the pace of new wind and solar plants as inadequate grid transmission lines waste a large amount of the power produced. Upgrading the national grid to improve overall transmission will be a priority, said Xinhua.

The installation of wind power plants will be around 250 GW by 2020, and solar installation will be 150 GW.

The installation of conventional hydro power projects will reach 340 GW by 2020, while power from nuclear plants will reach 58 GW by 2020, with another 30 GW approved for construction, Xinhua reported. (Reporting By Kathy Chen; Edited by Gavin Maguire and Christian Schmollinger)

China’s war on smog hits fertilizer, pesticide output in December: stats Zambia drought could slash 2018 maize output by around 50 percent Norway’s $1 trillion fund curbs holdings in biggest CO2 emitters With solar water, trees grow into a sturdy business in Western Kenya Britain must urgently bridge policy gaps to meet emissions target – advisers France plans to accelerate wind power projects 2018 could see wave of West Coast climate pollution pricing Roof gardens and recycling: Indian cities find ways to go green More green power could curb India’s water, electricity gap – researchers Without rain, South Africa’s Cape Town may run out of water by April