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All fired up to reduce coal use

China Daily | Updated: 2017-06-13 07:47

At a recent international round-table conference on energy and climate change in Beijing, Zhang Guobao, former chief of the National Energy Administration, told participants that China has suspended the building of as many as 105 already-approved coal power plants and hoped such a message can be transmitted to US President Donald Trump to rectify his previous misperception that China still plans to build a number of new plants that would increase China's carbon emissions.

China does have the world's largest installed capacity of coal power generation and coal power accounts for nearly 60 percent of its entire power generation. However, China has applied the world's most advanced emission reduction technologies to its coal power sector and also produced the world's best emission reduction effects. China has eliminated all its coal power generators with a capacity under 200,000 kilowatts and those with a capacity less than 300,000 kilowatts are due to be phased out by the end of next year.

According to the World Energy Council, the consumption of coal for every kilowatt hour is 300 grams in China, compared with 400 grams in the United States and the world's average of 430 grams. The coal consumption in Shanghai Waigaoqiao No 3 Power Plant, China's most advanced coal power plant, is only 251 grams for every kilowatt hour of electricity generated. Due to its low emissions of sulfide, nitrous oxide and soot, the Shanghai plant was rated by a US magazine as one of the world's top coal power plants in 2015.

That China has the largest coal power generation volume in the world does not mean its emissions reduction technologies lag behind. Considering its booming green energy sector, the share of coal power will considerably decline as a proportion of China's total power generation by 2030. For the sake of its own people's health, no country feels more pressure to cut emissions than China.

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