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China Looks To Shut Several Obsolete Coal Plants By End-2019

China targets to have 8.7 GW of coal-fired capacity shut by the end of 2019 as the country continues its coal-to-natural gas switch to fight air pollution.

According to China’s energy regulator, National Energy Administration (NEA), all regions and provinces in the country are told to have their coal-fired power units of less than 50,000 kilowatts (kW) shut down, Reuters quoted the regulator as saying on Sunday.

China will also close obsolete coal-fired power capacity that has reached the end of its design life, as well as larger coal plants of up to 100,000 kW in areas covered by large power grids, according to the regulator.

The total 8.7 GW of coal-fired capacity targeted for elimination accounts for just below 1 percent of China’s overall capacity, according to Reuters.

China has been stepping up its coal-to-gas switch, but its coal capacity will continue to grow in the coming years.

China’s demand for natural gas and liquefied natural gas (LNG) imports is expected to get another shot in the arm this year as one of the most polluted heavily industrialized provinces plans to have two million households switch their heating source from coal to gas or electricity.  

The province of Henan in central China aims to have 2 million households make the switch away from coal in 2019, according to provincial government-backed Henan Daily, cited by Reuters.   

China, however, has a whopping 226 GW of new coal plants in the pipeline and is the country with the largest coal capacity pipeline in the world, double the coal plant pipeline in India, Urgewald and 30 other NGOs said in a new update of the “Global Coal Exit List” (GCEL) earlier this month.

China’s energy mix will continue to evolve and coal’s dominance is set to decline from 60 percent in 2017 to 35 percent in 2040, according to the BP Energy Outlook 2019. Coal demand in China peaked in 2013, but the country will remain the world’s largest consumer of coal in the next two decades, accounting for 39 percent of global coal demand in 2040, BP says.

By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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