Beijing Battles to Control its Booming Coal Biz – Jonathan Ansfield

CDT’s esteemed Biganzi editor writes for Newsweek International on the opening of China’s most efficient plant ever, but he tempers the optimism with an illuminating look at the environmental calamity China faces as a result of its continued dependance on coal to feed the furnace of its chugging economy. From the lead:

It isn’t the Great Wall or the Three Gorges Dam, but the launch last month of China’s most robust”and efficient”coal-fired power plant was hailed as a critical feat. Make that “ultra-supercritical“: that’s the name for the technology behind the next-generation 1,000-megawatt electricity plant located near the city of Wenzhou, in bustling, coastal Zhejiang Province. The $2.3 billion plant, which abuts the East China Sea, employs energy-saving “clean coal” technology. Because its hulking boilers can heat steam to 600 degrees Celsius”well beyond the “critical” boiling point”the plant needs 17 percent less coal than an average Chinese power plant to produce a kilowatt hour of electricity. [Full Text]

As the article notes, the plant is owned by Huaneng, one of China’s five biggest electricity producers. In a strange twist noted in CDT last week, the company was recently among four power producers denied permission to build new plants on account of poor environmental practices.

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