China Suspends More Coal Development in 29 Provinces

China Suspends More Coal Development in 29 Provinces

China plans to suspend approvals for new coal-fired power plants in 29 provinces, Reuters reported.

The move comes as the country’s National Energy Administration put as many as 25 provinces on “red alert,” meaning new projects would create severe overcapacity or environmental problems. Another four regions were put on “orange alert.”

The NEA said utilization rates at existing coal-fired plants are falling as the result of slowing growth in electricity demand. Last year the average utilization rates at China’s coal plants fell 4.6 percent to 4,165 hours last year. Overall thermal capacity, including oil and gas-fired plants, rose 5.3 percent to 1,054 GW.

China had already moved in March to close down, cancel or slow construction of more than 50 GW of thermal capacity. And in January, China’s NEA moved to cancel plans to build at least 85 coal plants.

China’s total coal-fired power generation is likely to reach 1,300 GW by the end of 2020, even though the government’s five-year plan calls for a cap of 1,100 GW. Total coal capacity reached 940 GW at the end of 2016.