China on 24 March 2015 announced to shut down the last major coal-fired 845 megawatt (MW) power plant China Huaneng Group in Beijing by 2016. The aim of shutting down the plant is to cut pollution and replace it with gas-fired power plants.
This was the fourth major coal-based power plant shut down by China. The other three plants that were closed earlier include
• Coal-based power plant owned by Guohua Electric Power Corp. (closed in third week of March 2015)
• Coal-based power plant owned by Beijing Energy Investment Holding Co. (closed in the third week of March 2015)
• Coal-based power plant owned by Datang Corp (closed in July 2014)
These four major coal-based power plants will be replaced by four gas-fired stations with capacity to supply 2.6 times more electricity than the coal plants.
With the closure of all the major coal power plants in the city, China is estimated to cut carbon emissions of about 30 million tons which is equivalent to reducing annual coal use by 9.2 million metric tons.
China, world’s biggest carbon emitter, in its National Policy had announced plans to cut annual coal consumption by 13 million metric tons by 2017 from the 2012 level in a bid to slash the concentration of pollutants.
Air pollution has become the leading environmental challenge to Chinese authorities posing risk to human health. About 90 percent of the 161 cities whose air quality was monitored in 2014 failed to meet official standards.
The level of PM2.5, the small particles that pose the greatest risk to human health, averaged 85.9 micrograms per cubic meter last year in the capital, compared with the national standard of 35.
Closing of all coal-fired power plants is seen as a critical step in addressing pollution in China, which gets about 64 percent of the primary energy it uses from the fossil fuel.
Further with Chinese policy makers encouraging broader use of hydroelectric power, solar and wind, coal use is declining or slowing in China. The nation is also pushing to restart its nuclear power program in a bid to clear the skies.
Who: China Huaneng Group
When: 24 March 2015