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China has accelerated the approval of coal-fired power plants this year, and in the first quarter alone, it approved new coal capacity equal to nearly half of all the coal-fired capacity approved for the whole of 2021, Greenpeace said on Wednesday.
China gave the green light to as much as 8.63 gigawatts (GW) of new coal-fired power plants in the first quarter of 2022 alone, which was equal to
46.55% of all the coal capacity approved throughout 2021, the environmental group said in a research report.
Greenpeace slammed China for contributing even more to climate change and blamed it for using the ‘energy security’ card to approve more coal-fired power generation capacity.
“Energy security has become a sort of code word for coal, rather than for reliable supply of energy,” Wu Jinghan, climate and energy campaigner with Greenpeace in Beijing, told Reuters.
As it looks to avoid a repeat of last autumn’s coal and energy crisis, China is now reportedly considering ending the ban on Australian coal, which was enacted in October 2020 after Australia backed a call for an international inquiry into the way China handled the initial COVID outbreak. China is concerned that the EU ban on Russian coal—effective August 2022—would intensify a global run for non-Russian coal supply that could weaken China’s purchasing power.
In recent months, China has significantly boosted its coal production, following government orders for more coal supply. Faced with power shortages last autumn, Chinese authorities ordered an increase in domestic coal production as global coal prices soared.
In March 2022, China’s daily coal production hit a record high as it jumped by 15 percent compared to March 2021.
China has put more emphasis on energy security since the autumn of 2021. Earlier this year, China said it would continue to maximize the use of coal in the coming years as it caters to its energy security, despite pledges to contribute to global efforts to reduce emissions.
By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com
Tsvetana is a writer for Oilprice.com with over a decade of experience writing for news outlets such as iNVEZZ and SeeNews.