SHANGHAI (Reuters) - Coal demand from China will slow over the next five years and the industry should focus on restructuring and upgrading, state news agency Xinhua reported on Tuesday citing the China National Coal Association (CNCA).
Jiang Zhimin, CNCA vice-president, told Xinhua that the service sector was now the main driver of China’s economic growth, adding that the government was increasingly replacing coal with cleaner, non-fossil fuels.
“Over the 13th five-year-plan period (2016-2020), the coal industry should focus on promoting structural adjustment, restructuring and upgrading,” he said, adding that this included eliminating excess production capacity, building larger power plants and encouraging the development of downstream activities.
He said, however, that coal remained China’s primary energy source and that trends such as urbanization and industrialization would support energy demand growth.
Demand from China, the world’s top coal consumer, has been on the wane amid slowing economic growth and a shift away from fossil fuels to curb pollution.
Last week, the cabinet said China will remove around 500 million tonnes of coal production capacity within the next three to five years and halt approvals of all new projects.
Reporting by Brenda Goh; Editing by Miral Fahmy