REGULATION | Staff Reporter, China

China relaxes plant ban to allow 11 areas to set up coal power plants

Areas freed up for construction include Hebei, Qinghai, Chongqing, and Guangxi.

China’s National Energy Administration (NEA) has eased its new plant ban to allow 11 provinces and regions to resume building coal power plants, according to a report by Bloomberg.

The NEA forecasted that only 10 provinces and regions would have an excess of coal-fired electricity generation capacity in 2022, down from last year’s outlook for a glut in 21 areas by 2021.

“That means 11 areas can start building plants again, as the overcapacity label had suspended construction of new projects until the issue was addressed,” the report noted.

The decision underscores how dependent on coal the world’s second-largest economy still is, even as it invests hundreds of billions of dollars in cleaner energy sources such as natural gas, wind turbines and solar panels. Whilst coal’s share of China’s total energy consumption fell to 59% in 2018, the growth in the country’s total energy consumption meant burning of the dirty fossil fuel actually increased 1%.

Areas freed up for new coal power plant construction include Hebei, Qinghai, Chongqing, Guangxi, Guangdong, Yunnan, Guizhou and Henan, according to the NEA.

Read the full report here.

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