China, the world’s most polluting country, “suddenly accelerated” the approval of licenses for coal plants in 2022, after supply problems experienced last year, with new permits that reached the highest number since 2015, according to a report published this Monday by a Finnish. energy organization.
Last year, the world’s second-largest economy expanded the capacity of the sector with new licenses representing another 106 gigawatts of energy, an amount equivalent to the production of two large coal plants per week, the report from the Center for Energy and Air Research shows. now Clean (CREA) and the Global Energy Monitor (GEM).
The report warns about the country’s dependence on fossil substances to solve its deficits, after 2021 it suffered a wave of unprecedented blackouts due to increased demand and rising coal prices, among other reasons, which want to be prevented by 2022.
Of all the permits granted by 2022, more than half of the new plants are already operating (producing 86 gigawatts, more than double the 40 gigawatts added in 2021) and the rest “will start in soon.”
“Many of these permits were granted immediately and moved to the construction phase in just a few months,” said CREA-GEM, stating that the capacity has increased from the 23 gigawatts allowed in 2021.
On the contrary, the report shows that the closure of coal plants slowed down in 2022, losing 4.1 gigawatts, as opposed to 5.2 gigawatts taken in 2021 due to the closure of facilities.
The fight against climate change
The organization indicated that, while the “large increase in capacity in the coal sector does not mean that carbon emissions will increase in China,” if clean energy continues to grow and electricity demand strengthens, it will “be difficult to make Beijing’s commitments with climate change and make them more expensive.
Chinese President Xi Jinping announced in 2020 that the country will reach peak carbon emissions by 2030, and then achieve carbon neutrality by 2060, amid growing global concern about climate change.
Likewise, 2030 is the date by which Beijing aims to ensure that non-fossil fuels provide 25% of the energy generated in the country, with coal currently responsible for 60% of it.
Wind and solar power are the main drivers of China’s efforts to meet the goals of reducing carbon emissions, while the country plans to expand its nuclear power capacity in the coming years.
“Although China is making rapid progress in promoting clean energy, the country’s power system remains dependent on coal-fired power capacity to meet peak electricity loads and manage demand and supply variability. of clean energy. The continuous addition of new coal power capacity means insufficient weight to overcome the limitations of the electricity system and the energy market that continues to depend on coal,” it said that think tank.
“The worst case scenario is that the pressure to use the newly built coal-fired power plants and the use will lead to a moderation of the clean energy construction in China and/or the promotion of the energy-intensive industry to consume electricity.” increase in China’s CO2 emissions in this decade, undermining the world’s climate effort and may even undermine China’s climate commitments,” the Finnish organization stressed.