Beijing will close final coal plant next year

Beijing announced plans this week to close the last of the polluted capital city’s four big coal-fired power stations, with the China Huaneng Group’s 845 MW plant to close next year.

The news was announced on the website of the Beijing Economic Planning Agency on Monday, according to a report by Bloomberg on Tuesday.

The latest move follows the closure last week of two major coal-fired plants owned by the Guohua Electric Power Company and the Beijing Energy Investment Holding Company and the shut-down of a China Datang Corp. plant last year.

Although good news in terms of the city’s carbon footprint, news of the revolutionary development will be met with a mixed reaction from the renewables lobby, with city authorities replacing coal-fired generation with the alternative, if less carbon-emitting fossil fuel of natural gas. Gas-fired plants are set to produce 2.6 times more energy than their predecessors.

According to the Bloomberg report, Beijing is aiming to reduce coal consumption in the capital by 13 million metric tons by 2017 with 9.2 million tons saved by closing the coal plants and there are also plans to reduce production capacity in the heavily polluting cement industry.

Song Yuanming, vice chief of the State Administration for Coal Mine Safety, revealed plans in July for China to shut 2,000 of its smaller coal mines.