China to prioritize fuel supply to 22 high-tech utilities

BEIJING (Reuters) - China will prioritize the distribution of fuel supply and construction projects to at least 22 gas-fired power plants and two energy service platforms that employed advanced technology, the National Energy Administration (NEA) said on Wednesday.

The decision came in as China, the world’s top energy consumer, entered the fourth year of its anti-pollution campaign to replace coal with cleaner energy.

The campaign resulted in stricter controls on industries that use coal, such as steel and cement, and also on residential heating, where efforts are being made to switch from coal boilers to systems that use natural gas.

The gas-powered utilities on the NEA list, with combined capacity of 6.64 gigawatts (GW), are owned by the country’s major power firms including China Huaneng Group, China Datang Corp, China Huadian Corp and energy giants CNOOC Group and ENN Group, according to the statement.

The NEA has urged the local government to offer support to the new projects such as providing constant fuel supply, connecting electricity generated from these projects to the grids and ensuring that power distribution is on track.

After converting coal-fired heating equipment at nearly 10 million households to gas- or electricity-powered system in 2017 and 2018, Beijing is considering adding another 4.93 million households in northern China to its coal-to-gas campaign this year.

The energy administration also reminded the local government to ensure the old coal-fired power utilities and industrial boilers to be replaced in the cities once new gas-powered projects are introduced, the statement said.

Reporting by Muyu Xu and Shivani Singh, Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips