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No Coal-fired Power Plants to be Newly Constructed in China after 2030

At the China Power Conference convened during China Clean Energy Expo 2014(CEEC 2014) at the end of March this year, Vice President of China Electricity Council and senior expert on power sector planning, Mr. Wei Zhaofeng, points out that there will be no newly constructed coal-fired power plant nationwide after 2030. This comment made on the China's most influential clean energy exposition aroused heated discussions and brought hope to the public who are highly concerned with the improvement of China's environment.

 

The overall scale of China's power industry ranks the first in the world. After maintaining rapid development for years, the total installed generation capacity of China reached 1247GW in 2013. However, according to Mr. Wei, China's power sector is now facing new challenges. First, the external strategic environment has changed. China's economic growth is "shifting gear" and experiencing pains from restructure. Early stimulus policies are being digested. Economic and social development of China has come into a new era of ecological civilization development. Therefore, the development of energy and electric power is undergoing great adjustment and revolution. Second, the growth rate of power consumption is also "changing gear". According to China Electricity Council (CEC) predictions, China's GDP will keep an annual growth rate of about 7.5% by 2020, and the growth rate of  power consumption will keep its pace at 6.3% to 7.3% (with 6.8% recommended). Under such scenario, China's power consumption will reach 8100TWh in 2020, with the per capita consumption of 5.83MWh. Third, the growth of "green proportion" in the power generation mix is speeding up. By the end of 2013, the proportion of coal-fired generation capacity in the total power generation capacity was decreased to below 70%. The capacity of clean energy generation, including hydropower, wind power, nuclear power, solar power and natural gas generation reached 461GW, accounting for 37% of the total capacity; and the electricity generation from clean energy reached 1400TWh, 26% of the total generation. With the medium-high growth rate of national economy and external demands of ecological civilization construction, the proportion of coal-fired generation capacity will keep decreasing. Fourth, the standards for energy saving and emissions reduction is getting stricter and stricter. In recent years, required by the government, China's power industry has been taking aggressive measures in energy saving and emissions reduction. In 2013, all kinds of pollutant emissions of China's power industry were reduced to the world advanced level. Coal equivalent consumption for power supply in China was 321g/KWh, and the line loss was 6.67%. For the fine particles, SO2, NOX emissions per KWh kept decreasing; carbon emission intensity in coal-fired power plants also reached world class.

 

Mr. Wei foresaw the increasing pressure from energy saving and emissions reduction for power industry due to the fact of continual smog pollution, the force of public opinion and the increasingly stricter government policies. And he concluded that clean energy is an inevitable choice of the future development of China's power industry. According to CEC predictions, by 2020, the installed capacity of clean energy in China will amount to  810GW, accounting for 41% of the total generation capacity, among which hydropower will reach 360GW, wind power 200GW, solar power 70GW, biomass 10GW, nuclear power 70GW, natural gas 100GW. Generation from clean energy will be increased to 2600TWh in 2020, accounting for 32% of the total power generation. By 2030, clean energy capacity will be increased to 1.52TW, or 50% of the total generation capacity. Generation from clean energy will be 5000TWh in 2030, or 42% of the total power generation. There will be no newly constructed coal-fired power plant nationwide after 2030. And by 2050, clean energy capacity will be increased to 2.48TW, or 62% of total generation capacity, generating power of 8100TWh, accounting for 58% of the total.

 

At the end of his speech, Mr. Wei suggests that Chinese government shall formulate clearer strategy and road map with tough enforcement for the clean energy development in China. The tariff subsidy and fiscal support shall be more reasonable. And there shall be more investment in R&D to encourage technology innovation.

 

Source: China Electricity Council, China Council for the Promotional of International Trade Electric Power Industry Office

 
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