Is China Doubling Down on its Coal Power Bubble?

Greenpeace / by Lauri Myllyvirta, Xinyai Shen and Harry Lammi (free download with registration)

[New York Times]  …China’s economic slowdown and the government’s pledges to use more renewable and nuclear energy make some of the country’s existing plants and most or all of the 155 new ones unnecessary, according to interviews with officials and scholars, a review of public statistics and a report released Wednesday about the “coal power bubble” by Greenpeace East Asia. There are already too many plants, as shown by a steady decline in the plants’ average operating hours since 2013.

China’s state-controlled economy creates strong incentives for provinces to manage their own energy sources to generate jobs and revenue. Coal plants have long been the easiest, fastest way for provinces to meet their own energy needs and stimulate local economic growth.

That system has created what appears to be a disconnect between the provincial building boom and the country’s overall energy requirements, making it harder for China to convert to a system that is not dominated by dirty fuel…


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