China halts power plant projects in 15 regions to rein in oversupply

By Mike Hayes29 March 2016

China has indicated it will cease construction of coal-fired power plants in 15 regions, in an effort to deal with a build-up of overcapacity of power generation.

The state-owned Southern Energy Observer magazine, reported that construction work had halted on plants in regions with a surplus capacity had been identified; this included parts of Inner Mongolia, Shanxi and Shaanxi.

The publication also reported that potential projects in as many as 13 provinces and regions would not be approved before 2018.

The move appears to have been met with general approval from international observers, with senior Greenpeace campaigner Lauri Myllyvirta saying, "China is finally beginning to clamp down on its out of control coal power bubble.

"However,” he added, “these new measures fall far short of even halting the build-up of overcapacity in coal-fired power generation, let alone beginning to reduce it."

Recent figures show China's total generation capacity reached 1,485.8 GW at the end of February, up 11.8% year on year. Thermal power, primarily from coal-fired plants, rose 9.4% on the year to 1,003.8 GW.

China aims to raise the share of non-fossil fuels to 15% of total primary energy by 2020, up from 12% at the end of last year.

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