China Barely Slowed Coal Power Construction

Various satellite images show that half of the coal plants with “suspended construction” have actually been completed. China has restarted construction on more than 50 gigawatts (GW) of suspended coal-fired power plants. A study by Global Energy Monitor, Greenpeace and the Sierra Club claims that China could add 290GW in new coal-fired plants over the next few years. This would be more than the 261GW capacity of the entire US coal-power fleet in 2018. China is expected to put another 110 gigawatts (GW) of new power generation into operation in 2019. They put 120 GW into operation in 2018 after connecting a record 133.7 GW of new capacity in 2017, according to data from the China Electricity Council (CEC). China’s total installed capacity was expected to break the 2,000 GW barrier by the end of this year, rising around 5 percent from the end of 2018. Chinese electricity consumption rose to 6.84 trillion kilowatt hours in 2018, with growth hitting a six-year high of 8.5 percent year-on-year. The rise in consumption was led by the manufacturing industry and services sector. China’s coal-fired power capacity reached 1,010 GW by the end of 2018. If China goes to 1150 GW or higher for coal power by 2022, then the China will not meet its Paris Agreement promises. Nextbigfuture spoiler alert – China will not meet its Paris Agreement promises on coal.

SOURCES – Endcoal, Reuters, E&T, Graphic from BenHeubi, Satellite Picture by Planet Labs

Written By Brian Wang,