September 30, 2019 / 2:12 AM / 2 months ago

China aims to shut 8.7 GW of coal power by year-end - regulator

FILE PHOTO: Cranes unload coal from a cargo ship at a port in Lianyungang, Jiangsu province, China December 8, 2018. REUTERS/Stringer

SHANGHAI (Reuters) - China will aim to shut a total of 8.66 gigawatts (GW) of obsolete coal-fired power capacity by the end of this year, its energy regulator said, part of its efforts to curb smog and greenhouse gas emissions.

The National Energy Administration didn’t say how much of the target, equal to just under 1 percent of total capacity, had already been met.

All provinces and regions have been ordered to shut coal-fired power units with a capacity of less than 50,000 kilowatts (kW), the regulator said on its website on Sunday.

Larger units of up to 100,000 kW in regions covered by large-scale power grids will also be eliminated, along with those that have reached the end of their designed service period, it said.

Central China’s Henan province, one of the country’s most polluted regions, is under pressure to shut 1.6 GW this year, while southeastern Guangdong province near Hong Kong will shut 2.3 GW.

China has promised to ease its dependence on coal, and it has also forced most of its coal-fired power plants to install ultra-low emissions technology in a bid to curb smog.

But while China has cut the share of coal in its total energy mix from 68% in 2012 to 59% last year, overall consumption has continued to increase and environmental groups estimate that it still has more than 200 GW of new coal-fired capacity in the pipeline.

The China Electricity Council, which represents the country’s power industry, predicts that total coal-fired capacity could eventually peak at 1,300 GW, up from around 1,000 GW now.

Reporting by David Stanway; editing by Richard Pullin

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