China this year has continued a coal spree that started in the summer of 2022, approving more permits for new coal plants, commissioning newly built plants and even bringing long-dormant plants back online despite the approaching 2030 deadline for the nation to reach peak carbon emissions, according to new research.
The country approved permits for 52 gigawatts (GW) of new coal power capacity in the first half of 2023, maintaining the previous pace of approving two plants per week, according to a report published by Global Energy Monitor (GEM) and the Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air (CREA) on Tuesday. China also doubled its commissioning of coal plants year on year, plugging 17.1GW into the grid in the first half of the year, according to the report.
Moreover, the report said, most new coal projects are in locations where there is no need for new coal capacity to support grid stability or the integration of variable sources of renewable power like solar and wind – reasons Beijing has cited for its continuing build-up of coal capacity.
“As the world turns its back on new coal projects, China is making the path towards its energy transition and climate commitments more complicated and costly,” said Flora Champenois, research analyst at GEM and co-author of the report.