Beijing to Close Major Coal Power Plants by 2016


MARCH 24, 2015

A worker unloads coal at a storage site along a railway station in Shenyang, Liaoning province, China in this file picture taken on April 13, 2010. (Reuters Photo/Sheng Li)

Beijing, where pollution averaged more than twice China’s national standard last year, will close the last of its four major coal-fired power plants next year.

China’s capital city will close China Huaneng’s 845 megawatt power plant next year, after last week closing plants owned by Guohua Electric Power and Beijing Energy Investment, according to a statement Monday on the website of the city’s economic planning agency.

A fourth major power plant, owned by China Datang, was shut last year.

The plants will be replaced by four gas-fired stations with capacity to supply 2.6 times more electricity than the coal plants. Once complete, the city’s power and its central heating will be entirely generated by clean energy, said the Municipal Commission of Development and Reform.

Air pollution has attracted more public attention in the past few years as heavy smog envelops swathes of the nation including Beijing and Shanghai. About 90 percent of the 161 cities whose air quality was monitored in 2014 failed to meet official standards, according to a report by China’s National Bureau of Statistics.

The level of PM2.5, the small particles that pose the greatest risk to human health, averaged 85.9 micrograms per cubic meter last year in the capital, compared with the national standard of 35.

Beijing plans to cut annual coal consumption by 13 million metric tons by 2017 from the 2012 level in a bid to slash the concentration of pollutants. The city also aims to take other measures such as closing polluted companies and cutting cement production capacity to clear the air.