BEIJING — China is holding back on building new coal-fired power plants to avoid risks from overcapacity and promote a clean energy mix.
A total of 150 million kW of new coal power generation capacity will see construction halted or postponed from 2016 to 2020, the 13th Five-Year Plan period, according to a statement released on Aug 14 by the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) and other government agencies.
“New capacity will be strictly controlled,” the statement said, citing measures to crack down on violations in planning, approval and operation. “All illegal coal-burning power projects will be halted.”
Meanwhile, more than 20 million kW of outdated capacity will be eliminated, and nearly 1 billion kW of capacity will be upgraded to produce fewer emissions, use less energy, and better coordinate with new energy development.
The government plans to keep the country’s total coal power capacity below 1.1 billion kW by 2020.
The move followed an ongoing campaign to downsize bloated heavy industries, especially coal mining and steel smelting. Solid progress has been made to shut down inefficient coal mines, and more measures are in the pipeline.
The country is gradually lowering the proportion of coal in its energy system to make room for clean fuels, from natural gas and solar energy to hydropower. Coal will account for less than 58 percent of energy consumption in 2020, down from the current 60 percent or more.