EV Juggernaut China leads the world in new coal-fired power stations

China added the largest number of new coal-fired power plants last year despite being the largest electric vehicle (EV) manufacturer, according to a new report.

China’s continued construction of new coal-fired power plants comes at a time when the global community has demanded Beijing reduce its dependence on coal for energy purposes. Beijing insists that new coal-fired power stations will function as a backup for sporadic wind and solar power, but construction of new coal-fired power stations continues at breakneck pace.

China was responsible for 96 percent of new coal energy production worldwide last year, according to data released on February 5 by the Global Energy Monitor (GEM). GEM has reported that China was the largest contributor to coal project construction, accounting for 70 percent. the brand new coal-fired power stations that came into operation.

China also added 81 percent of newly announced projects and 68 percent of new generators coming online, GEM said in their new report.

GEM has revealed that China has added a whopping 191 gigawatts of coal-fired power generation over the past five years, accounting for 64 percent of new coal power projects globally between 2019-2023.

Experts have pointed out that instead of phasing out coal for power generation, China is rapidly increasing its use of fossil fuels.

“Even though coal represents only 40% of China’s electricity generation capacity, by 2023 it would account for more than 60% of the country’s electricity generated,” said Ramanan Krishnamoorti, vice president for Energy and Innovation at the University of Houston. in Texas, told POWER, a specialized publication on the energy market.

In 2021, Chinese leader Xi Jinping pledged to increase the use of green and renewable energy while reducing dependence on coal-fired power plants.

“China will increase support to other developing countries in developing green and low-carbon energy, and will not build new coal-fired power projects abroad,” Xi said in his 2021 speech to the United Nations General Assembly.

In recent years, China’s rise as a center of EV production has bolstered some confidence in Beijing’s strategy to combat climate change.

In 2021, China dominated the electric car market, with sales of new EVs rising 82 percent, putting 16.5 million electric cars on the road, according to the International Energy Association.

Between 2021 and 2022, China faced an extreme energy shortage, forcing Beijing to ramp up its coal-fired power plants, upending the trend of reducing dependence on fossil fuels.

Newsweek contacted the Chinese Embassy in Washington, DC for comment.

China’s continued use of coal-fired power plants has raised concerns about Beijing’s commitment to combating climate change.

“China, despite COP28 commitments and broader green energy investments, is well positioned to not only expand its use of coal but also meet growing demand,” said Irina Tsukerman, a geopolitical analyst and chair from Scarab Rising, according to POWER.

At the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP 28), held in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, in December 2023, China’s former climate envoy Xie Zhenhua, who resigned from his post last month, had said Beijing is facing “technical bottlenecks” in the phasing of climate change. coal-fired power stations.

“The actual power generated by renewable energy sources is not growing as fast as the installed capacity, as we still face technical bottlenecks and issues such as large-scale energy storage, smart grids and virtual power plants. So I think if we reserve all these technical problems, China’s renewable energy will develop even faster and better in the future.” Xie said in Dubai, according to the Guardian.

An aerial view of the ships carrying coal transport for unloading outside the coal power plant on November 11, 2021 in Hanchuan, Hubei Province, China. China was responsible for building 96 percent of…


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