China plans 226 GW of new coal power projects: environmental groups

SHANGHAI (Reuters) - China’s total planned coal-fired power projects now stand at 226.2 gigawatts (GW), the highest in the world and more than twice the amount of new capacity on the books in India, according to data published by environmental groups on Thursday.

FILE PHOTO: A worker inspects a conveyor belt carrying coal at a coal coking plant in Yuncheng, Shanxi province, China January 31, 2018. REUTERS/William Hong

The projects approved by China amount to nearly 40% of the world’s total planned coal-fired power plants, according to the Global Coal Exit List database run by German environmental organization Urgewald and 30 other partner organizations.

The new China projects would be more than Germany’s existing installed power capacity of around 200 GW by the end of 2018.

The environmental groups said in a press release on Thursday that worldwide 400 of the 746 companies in their database were still planning to expand their coal operations.

The companies include miners and power generators, and account for 89% of the world’s thermal coal production and nearly 87% of the world’s installed coal-fired power capacity.

Of the total, 161 are Chinese. China, the world’s biggest emitter of greenhouse gases, will be the focus of attention at next week’s United Nations summit on climate action in New York, with Beijing promising more ambition when it comes to tackling global warming.

China has been under pressure to curb investments in coal, at home and overseas, but Chinese financial institutions have continued to support coal projects.

Beijing said on Tuesday, in a position paper ahead of the U.N. meeting, that it would remain on “the clean energy and low-carbon development path” but stopped short of setting new targets.

China has cut the share of coal in its total energy mix from more than 68% in 2012 to 59% by the end of last year, but overall consumption has continued to increase.

China had 1,020 GW of coal-fired power by the end of July, amounting to 55% of its total installed capacity. A Chinese industry group has suggested total capacity could eventually settle at 1,300 GW.

(This story corrects figure in paragraph 10 for total coal-fired power to 1,020 GW)

Reporting by David Stanway; Editing by Tom Hogue