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Chinese coal power to change from main electricity source to regulating source

Author : PCEC

08 May 2022

At a recent technical conference, China’s National Energy Administration (NEA) announced that the country is aiming to transition coal power from a main source of electricity to a regulating power source.

Image: NEA
Image: NEA

"By the end of 2022, China's ultra-low emission coal-fired power units will exceed 1 billion kilowatts, the energy-saving transformation scale will be nearly 900 million kilowatts, and the flexibility transformation scale will exceed 100 million kilowatts," said Yu Bing, Deputy Director of the NEA. He added that since the "13th Five-Year Plan", air pollutants such as soot, nitrogen oxides, sulfur dioxide and others emitted by China's coal-fired power units had made up less than 10% of the country’s total volume.

According to the requirements of the "Implementation Plan for the Transformation and Upgrading of China's Coal-fired Power Units" issued last year, during China's "14th Five-Year Plan" period, the scale of coal power energy saving and carbon reduction transformation should not be less than 350 million kilowatts, and the scale of heating transformation should reach 50 million kilowatts.

"According to this scale, it can drive an effective investment of about 100 billion yuan (£12bn), save more than 50 million tons of coal consumption, and improve the new energy consumption capacity of more than 50 million kilowatts," Yu Bing said. Under the current technical conditions and installed capacity structure, coal power generation is the most economical, feasible, safe and reliable resource for flexible energy adjustment. The coal industry can promote the development of renewable energy while improving the power supply capacity. Data shows that in 2022, coal power will account for less than 50% of the installed capacity, produce 60% of the country's electricity, and undertake 70% of the peak tasks.

With the proposal of China's carbon peaking and carbon neutrality goals, the clean and low-carbon transformation of the power system will be further accelerated. Yu Bing introduced that coal-fired power will gradually shift from the main power source that provides electricity to a supporting and regulated power source. The proportion of coal installed capacity and power generation has been reduced, and the flexible adjustment capacity and the level of cleanliness and efficiency have been improved. "There are still nearly 400 million kilowatts of subcritical coal-fired power units in China. The coal consumption of these units is obviously high, and energy-saving and carbon-reduction transformation needs to be implemented as soon as possible. The long-term small thermal power should be replaced as soon as possible," Yu Bing said.

By the end of 2022, China's coal power installed capacity will have reached 1.11 billion kilowatts, accounting for 46.7% of the total installed power generation capacity. In 2022, the coal consumption per kilowatt-hour of coal power in China will be about 305 grams.

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