China continues coal spree despite climate goals

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By Paul Homewood

Perhaps somebody ought to tell AEP!

China is approving new coal power projects at the equivalent of two plants every week, a rate energy watchdogs say is unsustainable if the country hopes to achieve its energy targets.

The government has pledged to peak emissions by 2030 and reach net zero by 2060, and in 2021 the president, Xi Jinping, promised to stop building coal powered plants abroad.

But after regional power crunches in 2022, China started a domestic spree of approving new projects and restarting suspended ones. In 2022 the government approved a record-breaking 106 gigawatts (GW) of new coal-fired power capacity. One gigawatt is the equivalent of a large coal power plant.

This run of approvals is continuing, potentially on track to break last year’s record, according to analysis by the Global Energy Monitor (GEM) and the Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air, published on Tuesday.

It said in the first half of 2023, authorities granted approvals for 52GW of new coal power, began construction on 37GW of new coal power, announced 41GW-worth of new projects, and revived 8GW of previously shelved projects. It said about half of the plants permitted in 2022 had started construction by summer.

The analysts said: “Unless permitting is stopped immediately, China won’t be able to reduce coal-fired power capacity during the 15th five-year plan (2026–30) without subsequent cancellations of already permitted projects or massive early retirement of existing plants.”

It never ceases to amaze me the Guardianistas continue to be shocked by any of this.