China approves record number of new coal-fired power plant in 2022


China approved the construction of 106 GW of new coal-fired power capacity last year, four times more than the previous year and the highest level since 2015, spurred by energy security concerns, according to a research released on Monday.

50 GW of coal power capacity was built in the country last year, an increase of more than half from the previous year, report of the Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air (CREA) and Global Energy Monitor (GEM) said.

"The speed at which projects progressed through permitting to construction in 2022 was extraordinary, with many projects sprouting up, gaining permits, obtaining financing and breaking ground apparently in a matter of months," said GEM analyst Flora Champenois.

The amount of new capacity linked to the grid has decreased in recent years, following a decline in new approvals between 2017 and 2020, but it is expected to bounce back in the coming years, driven by concerns about power shortages.

The CREA-GEM report said that many of the newly approved projects are identified as "supporting" baseload capacity aimed to ensure power system stability and reduce blackout risks.

However, many are being developed in areas where there is already a clear capacity surplus, and power supply issues would be best handled by enhancing grid reliability and efficiency, the authors added.

China was hit by a wave of blackouts in September 2021 due to coal supply shortages, knocking off thousands of households and factories. Last year's protracted drought also resulted in a substantial decline in hydropower generation and electricity rationing.

Beijing has been attempting to revitalize its economy after harsh "zero-COVID" regulations that severely harmed GDP and employment last year, increasing concerns that its low-carbon efforts will be neglected.

Yet, renewable power capacity additions have remained at record levels, with solar installations reaching 87 GW in 2022 and forecast to climb further in 2023.

The country aims to bring its climate-warming carbon dioxide emissions to a peak by 2030, but it remains unclear what level they will reach.










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