China’s total planned coal-fired power projects now stand at 226.2 gigawatts (GW), the highest in the world and more than twice the amount of new capacity on the books in India, according to data published by environmental groups on Thursday (Sept 19).
This means China will build approximately 200 new coal-fired power plants inside China, and that’s not including almost 100 others being built in countries which don’t already have them, as part of China’s expansion under the guise of the One Belt, One Road Initiative.
The projects approved by China amount to nearly 40 per cent of the world’s total planned coal-fired power plants, according to the Global Coal Exit List database run by German environmental organisation Urgewald and 30 other partner organisations.
The new China projects would be more than Germany’s existing installed power capacity of around 200 GW by the end of 2018.
The environmental groups said in a press release on Thursday that worldwide 400 of the 746 companies in their database were still planning to expand their coal operations.
The companies include miners and power generators, and account for 89 per cent of the world’s thermal coal production and nearly 87 per cent of the world’s installed coal-fired power capacity. Of the total, 161 are Chinese.
China, the world’s biggest emitter of greenhouse gases, will be the focus of attention at next week’s United Nations summit on climate action in New York, with Beijing promising more ambition when it comes to tackling global warming.
China has been under pressure to curb investments in coal, at home and overseas, but Chinese financial institutions have continued to support coal projects.
Beijing said on Tuesday, in a position paper ahead of the UN meeting, that it would remain on “the clean energy and low-carbon development path” but stopped short of setting new targets.
China has cut the share of coal in its total energy mix from more than 68 per cent in 2012 to 59 per cent by the end of last year, but overall consumption has continued to increase.
China had 1,020 GW of coal-fired power by the end of July, amounting to 55 per cent of its total installed capacity. A Chinese industry group has suggested total capacity could eventually settle at 1,300 GW.