China eyes closing coal-fired power plants in capital
BEIJING (Reuters) - China is considering moving the last four coal-fired
power and heating plants out of Beijing's municipal area, replacing them
with gas-fired stations, state media reported on Monday, in an effort to
improve air quality in the capital.
"The existence of a number of
coal-fired power plants in urban Beijing does not conform with the city's
positioning as a metropolis," Zhang Guobao, head of the China's National
Energy Administration (NEA), was quoted as saying in the China Energy
"While the heat supply to Beijing residents must be ensured, coal-fired
stations that need to be relocated must be relocated, and building
gas-fired plants with advanced environmental protection technologies is a
No timeframe was mentioned for the possible move, and it was not clear
where the plants would be moved to if such a decision were approved.
The four plants, owned by Huaneng Power International, Datang
International Power Generation Co Ltd, China Shenhua Energy and Beijing
Jingneng Thermal Power Co Ltd, have a total power generating capacity of
about 2.7 gigawatts (GW).
The plan, if it is implemented, would further drive up gas demand in
Beijing, which already tops demand rankings among Chinese cities. Beijing
consumed more than 5 billion cubic meters (bcm) of gas in 2008.
Beijing's gas consumption by power plants alone would reach 13 bcm by
2020 if all coal-fired plants switch to gas turbines, far above earlier
plans, Vice Mayor Huang Wei was quoted as saying in the report.
As a result, construction of gas pipelines, liquefied natural gas
facilities and underground storage tanks need to be accelerated, Huang
PetroChina, the dominant gas supplier for Beijing, has two pipelines
sending gas from Shaanxi province that combined have shipping capacity of
20 bcm per year.
PetroChina has the ability to meet Beijing's future gas demand from
residents, heating and power generators, Zhao Zhongxun, vice general
manager of PetroChina, was quoted as saying.
The top Chinese oil and gas firm has started early-stage work for a third
pipeline, linking Shaanxi to Beijing, while a fourth line is also being
planned, according to Zhao.
The third Shaanxi-Beijing gas pipeline, at 822 kilometres, is designed to
have transportation capacity of 12 bcm per year.
Beijing's power consumption rose to a record of more than 14 GW in
August, and more than two thirds of the supplies were generated from
Coal-fired plants produce about 80 percent of China's national electricity
(Reporting by Jim Bai and Tom Miles; Editing by Ken Wills)