China's Shandong province plans further coal usage cuts over next five years

FILE PHOTO: A coal-burning power station can be seen near the city of Jinan, Shandong Province November 29, 2011. REUTERS/David Gray/File Photo

BEIJING (Reuters) - China’s eastern province of Shandong aims to cut its coal consumption by 50 million tonnes in five years, the provincial government said in a statement on Tuesday, to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and upgrade its energy structure.

The statement did not provide current coal consumption figures for the province, one of China’s most industrialized. The province set a target for 2018 consumption of 377.58 million tonnes per year, meaning the cut announced today would reduce coal usage by 13.2% from that level. It is not clear if Shandong met the target.

“The situation of coal consumption reduction work in Shandong remains very grim at this moment...How to meet the (coal use reduction) target set by central government has become a prominent problem for us,” said the Shandong government in the statement.

Shandong last year vowed to reduce its provincial coal usage to 368.4 million tonnes by 2020 from 382.33 million in 2017.

Reducing coal consumption in Shandong would further Beijing’s goals of cleaning up the country’s air and reduced its carbon dioxide emissions.

Shandong produced 96% of its power from thermal sources, such as coal, in 2018.

In May, China’s energy bureau has set mandatory renewable power quotas for each of its region for 2019 and 2020, asking Shandong to reach the portion of renewable energy use in total energy mix to 10% in 2019 and 11% in 2020.

The province also ordered tighter coal quality specifications for the fuel. Coal must now have an energy content of 5,000 kilocalories per kg from the current 3,700 to 4,300 kilocalories per kg in the coming three to five years.

Shandong vowed to trim coking capacity by 16.86 million tonnes by 2020 and to put out capacity plans, targeting independent refineries, steel mills, fertilizer makers and aluminum smelters, by July.

Reporting by Muyu Xu and Shivani Singh; editing by Christian Schmollinger