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14 Coal Plants Have Come Online Since China Vowed To Pull Overseas Support

A total of 14 coal-fired plants with Chinese backing have entered into operation in the world, mostly in Asia, since China pledged to end support for coal capacity construction overseas at this time last year, a new report from the Center for Research on Energy and Clean Air (CREA) showed.   

Last year in September, Chinese President Xi Jinping said at the 2021 UN general assembly that China would stop building new coal power plants abroad.  

“China will step up support for other developing countries in developing green and low-carbon energy, and will not build new coal-fired power projects abroad,” Xi said, without specifying what would happen to the coal plants under construction or planning.

At the time of the announcement, 104 coal plants of a total of 102 gigawatts (GW) in 26 countries were planned, considered, or in construction under either Chinese financing or engineering, procurement and construction (EPCs) agreements, CREA and its partner in the report, People of Asia for Climate Solutions, said.

“While more than 13% of these projects have already been completed, the potential for China’s ban to stop new coal and avoid additional carbon emissions from the pipeline remains enormous,” the organizations said.

Yet, it’s now too late for 7.6 GW or 14 plants, which have already entered into operation over the past year. Another 27 plants with 23 GW capacity are near completion, and they will likely enter into operation. A total of 26 plants have been officially canceled, 33 coal plants could be canceled or stopped because these projects are still in the process of securing financing or permits, the report found. Sixteen others could be converted to renewables, according to CREA.

Domestically, China has put more emphasis on energy security since the autumn of 2021 and said it would continue to maximize the use of coal in the coming years as it caters to its energy security, despite pledges to contribute to global efforts to reduce emissions. China, the world’s largest coal consumer, has domestic reserves of coal to last the next 50 years, data from the Ministry of Natural Resources showed earlier this week.

By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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