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China Plans to Roll Out Coal Power After 2020



August 7, 2017 - According to the decree agreed in July by the 16th government agencies and institutions of China, by the end of 2020 China will reconsider plans for the construction of coal-fired power plants with a total capacity of 150 GW.

Until the end of the 13th Five-Year Plan in 2020, China plans to pass the peak of the coal-fired power generation capacity, which is expected to reach 1100 GW, and after 2020 to begin to reduce the generation of electricity in coal-fired power plants. It is expected that in the 14th Five-Year Plan the priority will be given to the development of renewable energy.

According to the Chinese portal "Caixinglobal", the central government has enacted sectoral directives to reduce the capacity of coal energy after 2020. The document was approved on Monday, July 31, at a government meeting of representatives of the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, the National Energy Administration and 14 other institutions of the central government of China.

With these directives, the central government of China has expanded its activities to restructure the coal industry beyond the metallurgical and coal mining industries and has focused attention on the excess capacity of coal energy.

The total installed capacity of coal-fired power plants in China at the end of 2016 was 943 gigawatts, while coal energy companies, which are major socially significant employers, are already experiencing difficulties due to a fall in demand for electricity. The average number of operating hours for coal-fired power plants in China in 2016 was only 4,165 hours (out of 8,760 per year), which is much lower than the 5,500 hours required for plant operators to break even.

The connection to the power system this year of new capacities could lead to the fact that the number of working hours in the industry as a whole would decrease even more. In this regard, their commissioning was postponed, and some projects in the early stages were canceled.

The adopted directives also contain measures aimed at helping companies that will be required to close their old coal-fired power plants. In particular, monetary compensation is provided for the transfer of their rights to produce electricity to other operators.


Meanwhile, solar energy in China set a new record - in the first half of 2017, 24 GW of solar power plants were commissioned. It is expected that by the end of 2017 the country will exceed the total planned target for the development of solar energy at 105 GW, set for the 13th Five-Year Plan (2016-2020).