Beijing to ‘replace coal-fired plants before 2015’

China’s capital city is looking to phase out all of its coal-fired power plants and replace them by the end of next year in its efforts to tackle air pollution, […]

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By Priyanka Shrestha

China’s capital city is looking to phase out all of its coal-fired power plants and replace them by the end of next year in its efforts to tackle air pollution, Chinese reports claim.

According to municipal authorities, Beijing (pictured) is planning to build four new power plants and 40 “utility projects” to replace existing coal plants with gas-fired generation, state media has reported.

Last month China said it would ban new coal-fired power plants in three key industrial regions in the country.

The switch to gas is expected to cost 47.7 billion yuan (£4.8bn), with the projects generating 7.2GW of power and reducing sulphur dioxide emissions by 10,000 tons.

The four existing coal-fired power plants have a total generation of around 2.7GW and burned 9.2 million tons of coal last year – accounting for 40% of Beijing’s total coal consumption. The coal plants are expected to close as soon as the new projects come online.

The municipal authorities recently pledged to cut the city’s coal use by 1.3 million tonnes by 2017 in a bid to reduce air pollution. Statistics from the US Energy Information Administration show China, which is the world’s biggest consumer of coal, has accounted for 82% of the rise in global coal usage since 2011.

Last month environmental groups called on a London-based bank to follow on the footsteps of the European Investment Bank (EIB) and the World Bank and stop lending cash for coal projects.