BEIJING, Jan 31 (Reuters) - China will require firms wanting to build new coal-fired power plants to shut down smaller, older generators at the same time, as part of a drive to boost energy efficiency and cut back pollution, Beijing said on Wednesday.
The energy policy-setting National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) said in a statement posted on its Web site (www.ndrc.gov.cn) that to build a 300 megawatt power station, 240 MW of capacity must be decommissioned.
For larger, more efficient new stations the amount of old capacity that must be put out of service is lower -- 420 MW for a new 600 MW station and just 600 MW for a 1 gigawatt generator.
China aims to elimate small generating plants with 50 GW of capacity, around 8 percent of the country’s total, by the end of the decade. This includes 7 to 10 GW of fuel oil-fired capacity.
Coal powered plants with capacity under 50 megawatts (MW) will be ordered to close by 2010, as will 100 MW generators that have been in operation for 20 years or more.
The NDRC said generators with coal consumption more than 10 percent above the average in their province or 15 percent higher than the national average were also targeted for closure.
China aims to cut the amount of energy it uses per dollar of national income by 20 percent by 2010 as part of a drive to curb growing pollution and dependence on foreign oil, but failed to meet its target last year by a wide margin, officials have said.
Coal plants provide around 80 percent of the country’s power.
Zhao Xiaoping, chief of the commission’s energy bureau, said China was in a strong position to improve efficiency and upgrade its technology because the country had added a large amount of capacity recently.
It is not currently at risk of repeating the power shortages that caused brownouts across much of the country in recent summers after around 100 GW of new capacity came online in 2006. Over 70 GW more is expected this year.
Nearly half the coal burned in China is used to generate electricity, and power plants produced more than 50 percent of the country’s emissions of acid-rain causing sulfur dioxide in 2005, Zhao added..
Reporting by Jim Bai and Emma Graham-Harrison; editing by James Jukwey; firstname.lastname@example.org; Reuters Messaging: email@example.com; +86 10 6598 1271
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