100 Coal Fired Projects Scrapped.

Written By: - Date published: 3:17 pm, January 18th, 2017 - 16 comments
Categories: China, climate change, energy, global warming, sustainability - Tags: , ,

China has just pulled the plug on 100 coal fired projects. This is on top of another 15 coal fired projects being scrapped or abandoned in September of last year.

The country intends to cap coal powered electricity generation at 1 100 GW (still a huge amount of coal fired generation) and have coal supply no more than 55% of the country’s energy needs. This is a start. Of course, the eventual worth of moves like this depend entirely on how long the remaining coal fired stations are going to be left in service.

China, for us to give ourselves an outside chance of avoiding 2 degrees C rise in average surface temperatures, must be carbon free (from energy) by about 2050. And they only have that time scale to work in if other richer countries get to zero by around 2035 – 2040.

The cancelled projects amount to about 115 GW of energy – around 10% of projected coal fired energy production.

Instead of coal fired generation, China is committing to bringing 130 GW  of solar and wind generation on line by 2020 – equivalent to France’s total renewable power generation capacity (a fair whack of which is obtained through its 19 or 20 nuclear power stations)…and all in the space of 3 years!

Okay. So what is New Zealand doing in the meantime by way of our commitment to this global task? Opening up new coal fired facilities and extending the life of others …and in a legislative framework that rejects or forbids objections to their construction if those objections are based on concerns around climate change.

Isn’t it time New Zealand ‘got with the programme’?

16 comments on “100 Coal Fired Projects Scrapped.”

  1. Andre 1

    Don’t forget that Nova Energy also wants to build a new gas-fired station in the Waikato. Meanwhile, I keep hearing about renewables projects that have been consented, but aren’t going ahead due to insufficient demand.



    • Bill 1.1

      Thanks for that Andre.

      Gas generation was sitting at the back of my mind as I wrote the post – the whole ‘have’ that it’s somehow green or whatever when it contains (from memory) something like 80% carbon.

      If I had the faintest clue what China’s gas powered capacity was and what they’re doing with it, I could have slipped the gas angle in there too I guess.

      Went digging in the process of writing this comment.

      According to ‘Power Engineering International‘ (who seem on a quick once over to be not overly concerned with energy being derived from fossil), China intends to double it’s gas generation capacity by 2020. (43 GW to 85.5 GW)

      Thing is, I can’t see the date of the piece and a part of me wonders if it’s a bit of wishful thinking that pre-dates the announcement on renewables.

      Regardless, it seems China doesn’t have much in the way of gas generation (relatively speaking).

      Here’s the second link I hit on that wee sojourn…

      • Andre 1.1.1

        Well, gas isn’t as filthy as coal. Because it does deliver more heat energy per molecule of CO2 emitted. Plus, it can be used in a combined-cycle plant which is much higher efficiency than a coal plant, so more of that heat energy released gets turned into electricity.

        OTOH, from a pure warming perspective, it doesn’t take much gas leakage from well to station to cancel out the benefits relative to coal.

        • Bill

          Physics doesn’t give a damn if the carbon emissions are coming from coal or from gas. We need emission levels from energy to be zero. And relatively soon.

          But sure, seeing as how we’re talking about accumulated totals, if gas can be utilised in the very short term to afford some breathing space due to some greater efficiency, then fine.

          Same goes for bio-fuels. Short term only.

  2. esoteric pineapples 2

    Bill English doesn’t think there is a problem – http://www.nzherald.co.nz/politics/news/article.cfm?c_id=280&objectid=11782947

    While in Wyoming they are trying to ban solar and wind power – https://grist.org/briefly/coal-loving-wyoming-legislators-are-pushing-a-bill-to-outlaw-wind-and-solar/

    • Bill 2.1

      This “War Against Intelligence”… it seems to be opening on multiple fronts and sometimes gets me thinking that maybe some people need to be taken by the hand and stood beneath a lamp-post, while the multiple potential uses that a lamp-post can be put to, are just quietly and matter of factly explained to them.

    • dv 2.2

      >>While in Wyoming they are trying to ban solar and wind power –

      Well that stuffs the coal and oil industry as both come from the sun!!!

  3. Andre 3

    This story about life in Beijing might be a clue why China has developed an extra burst of enthusiasm for getting rid of coal.


    • Jenny Kirk 3.1

      Yes – I also thought that, Andre, when I read Bill’s post. Well – its good China is finally doing something , and its lousy that our country is so slack on this issue.

      • tc 3.1.1

        China is getting on with renewables in a massive way as china do.

        Perhaps because it’s not as beholden to big oil and energy interests etc in the same way that western govts seem to be.

    • Macro 3.2

      Yep! A friend of mine was in Bejing visiting a son who is working there. He was outside one day and everything was fine – and then……..
      Then the smog came down and he felt – if I don’t get out of here I’m going to die! The smog was incredible and asphyxiating like he had never experienced before.

  4. Tricledrown 4

    The cost of digging up coal and transport is getting Dearer while Solar and wind are getting cheaper no need to transport swfa after assembly.

  5. McGrath 5

    Why not go nuclear? Nuclear can generate large amount of energy with limited emissions.

    • McFlock 5.1

      That’s what they said about sellafield, three mile island, chernobyl, fukishima…

      • Andre 5.1.1

        To be fair to nuclear, even counting the worst case projections of illness and early death for those disasters, the human and environmental footprint of nuclear per unit of energy generated is still way lower than fossil fuels or even hydro.

        Fuck I’m grateful the cost of renewables has come down so fast it’s clearly the cheapest new generation option available. But I strongly suspect that when the world gets serious about pricing carbon, nuclear will reappear for shipping propulsion. Unless the alien unicorns arrive and start excreting compact fusion plants.

        • McFlock

          Yeah, fair call.

          I tend to react rashly to twitter-level comments about significantly more complicated issues.

          But in general I’d say nuclear is just a bad idea all around, especially with better options becoming available. You get a new reactor up and running, hopefully find out it was obsolete in half the time it takes to build it.

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