BEIJING, March 24 China will stop the
construction of coal-fired power plants in 15 regions as part of
its efforts to tackle a capacity glut in the sector, the
country's energy regulator said on Thursday, confirming an
earlier media report.
The Southern Energy Observer, a magazine run by the
state-owned China Southern Power Grid Corp, said regulators had
halted the construction of coal-fired plants in regions where
capacity was already in surplus, including the major coal
producing centres of Inner Mongolia, Shanxi and Shaanxi.
An official at the communications office of the National
Energy Administration (NEA) told Reuters that the report was
correct, but he did not provide any further details.
The report, citing documents issued to local governments by
the regulator, said China would also stop approving new projects
in as many as 13 provinces and regions until 2018.
The rapid expansion of China's coal-fired power capacity,
together with a slowdown in demand growth, has saddled the
sector with its lowest utilisation rates since 1978, the NEA
said earlier this year.
Environmental group Greenpeace said the rules, if fully
implemented, could involve up to 250 power projects with a total
of 170 gigawatts (GW) in capacity, according to initial
"China is finally beginning to clamp down on its out of
control coal power bubble," said Lauri Myllyvirta, Greenpeace's
senior campaigner on coal, in an emailed statement.
"However, these new measures fall far short of even halting
the build-up of overcapacity in coal-fired power generation, let
alone beginning to reduce it," he said.
China's total generation capacity reached 1,485.8 GW by the
end of February, up 11.8 percent year on year, according to the
latest figures. Thermal power, which mostly consists of
coal-fired capacity, rose 9.4 percent on the year to 1,003.8 GW.
China aims to raise the share of non-fossil fuels to 15
percent of total primary energy by 2020, up from 12 percent at
the end of last year.
(Reporting by Kathy Chen and David Stanway; Editing by Tom