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Industry Experts: China to Promote Clean and Efficient Use of Coal Amid Green Transition

BusinessIndustry Experts: China to Promote Clean and Efficient Use of Coal Amid Green Transition

Industry experts say that China will continue to promote the clean and efficient use of coal while advancing technological research and development to ensure sufficient energy supplies during the country’s green transition. To achieve green development and energy security, Song Hailiang, Chairman of China Energy Engineering Group Co Ltd, emphasized the importance of accelerating the transformation of coal power generation and developing relevant technologies to promote its clean and efficient use. Despite the increasing share of new energy in the power generation sector, coal will play a bigger role as an emergency backup power supply, rather than a basic support power supply. Song suggested innovating relevant design standards and pricing mechanisms for coal power, together with advancing technological research and development.

The Chinese government vows to strengthen the basic supporting role of coal and increase advanced coal production while working faster to develop new energy systems to support the country’s green transition. Coal has continued to be a primary energy source in China, and advanced coal capacity has been added to support power generation and heating supply enterprises to ensure reliable energy supplies, according to the Government Work Report delivered at the first session of the 14th National People’s Congress. Over the past five years, China’s ultra-low emissions coal-fired power capacity has exceeded 1,050 gigawatts.

Preliminary estimates from the National Bureau of Statistics show that China’s total energy consumption in 2022 amounted to 5.41 billion metric tons of standard coal equivalent, with coal consumption accounting for 56.2 percent, and clean energy consumption, such as natural gas, hydroelectric, nuclear, wind, and solar power, accounting for 25.9 percent.

An analyst suggested that instead of banning coal outright, China should develop relevant technologies to promote its clean and efficient use, ensuring energy security and achieving green development. Coal as a primary energy source would ensure secure energy supplies, and carbon peaking and carbon neutrality are not incompatible with energy security. Emerging forms of green generation have not been able to cover all the demand growth, so the trend is that coal consumption will start to decrease year-on-year. Song noted that China has been optimizing its coal power structure while eliminating outdated production capacity in recent years. Coal remains an important part of China’s economy and will play an irreplaceable role in achieving power peak regulation and ensuring the safe and reliable supply of energy.

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