Beijing's Last Coal Power Plant Ceases Operation, Air Pollution Still a Concern

Cornelia Mascio
Marzo 21, 2017

The move is part of the capital's efforts to reduce carbon emissions and reduce air pollution.

Beijing, China-a city known for its awful air pollution-no longer has any large coal-fired power plants adding to the problem.

The city also draws electricity from coal-fired power plants in neighbouring provinces such as Hebei and Inner Mongolia, where environmental regulations are weakly enforced. And just like that, Beijing became the first Chinese city to rely exclusively on cleaner energy sources - including natural gas and wind farms - to generate electricity and heating.

The Huangneng plant is the fourth to be closed and replaced by gas thermal power centres between 2013 and 2017, cutting almost 10 million tonnes in coal emissions annually.

Since 1999, the Huaneng Beijing Thermal Power Plant has provided China's capital with 845,000 kilowatts of power to heat 26 million square meters of the city by burning 1.76 million tonnes of coal annually.

Three of the four gas thermal power have already been built and are in use. Nonetheless, the coal plant will remain available, at least for the time being, as an emergency supply for the city's heating system. Beijing previously vowed to reduce coal use by 13 million tons by the end of this year. Beijing has over five million more people living it since, meaning more energy, more coal, more cars, and more health problems associated with pollution.

There is no clean, attractive coal in Beijing anymore, to take from Donald Trump's preferred way of describing the black rock used to power most of the world's energy grid.

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