China bans new coal-fired plants in three regions

China has announced it will ban new coal-fired power plants in three key industrial regions in the country. The Chinese Government unveiled a new action plan yesterday with pledges to tackle […]

By Priyanka Shrestha

China has announced it will ban new coal-fired power plants in three key industrial regions in the country.

The Chinese Government unveiled a new action plan yesterday with pledges to tackle the country’s air pollution, which is increasingly a public concern.

It aims to slash coal’s share of China’s total primary energy use to less than 65% by 2017 and increase the share of renewables, nuclear and natural gas instead. Statistics from the Government showed coal accounted for more than 68% of total energy use in 2011.

New coal-fired projects will be banned in the region surrounding Beijing, the Yangtze delta region near Shanghai and the Pearl River delta area of Guangdong province, according to the State Council.

China’s Government wants to cut smaller air particles, 2.5 micrometers in diameter or less – also known as PM 2.5 – a key indicator of air pollution, by around 25% compared to 2012 levels in Beijing and surrounding provincial areas by 2017. Estimates from the Ministry of Environmental Protection showed carrying out the plans would cost around 1.75 trillion yuan (£0.18tn).

Under the new plans, the total capacity of China’s operating nuclear power reactors would reach 50 million kilowatts and the share of non-fossil fuels such as solar and wind power to 13% by 2017.

The call comes after the European Investment Bank (EIB) and the World Bank announced plans to limit funding for new coal-fired power plants earlier this year.

John Sauven, Greenpeace UK Executive Director welcomed the announcement and added: “China’s pollution problems have often been used by foot-dragging world leaders as a fig leaf to cover their own failure to properly address carbon pollution but plans to curb coal usage revealed today in both China and the US leave Europe’s dithering decision-makers with less space to hide.”

Do you think the UK Government should follow in the footsteps and cut the share of fossil fuels in the nation’s energy mix?

Energy Secretary Ed Davey and the chief executive of UK Coal Kevin McCullough will take centre stage at Energy Live 2013 on November 7th so come along to make sure you don’t miss out on the key issues.