China Bans New Small Coal-Based Power Generators

These plants produced 35% of China's total sulphur dioxide emissions and 52% of total soot emissions.

China will no longer allow new coal-based power generators with a capacity below 300,000 kilowatts to be built, hoping to alleviate pressure on the environment, state media reported March 7. New coal power generators should be equipped with facilities to reduce sulphur and soot emissions, the China Business News reported, citing the National Development and Reform Commission, the top planning agency.

According to official statistics, coal-based power generators with relatively small capacities were responsible for 35% of China's total sulphur dioxide emissions and 52% of total soot emissions of the sector. In January, the government ordered the closure of coal power generators with capacities below 200,000 kilowatts.

The decision is part of efforts to meet a target of cutting energy consumption per unit of gross domestic product by 20% and pollution by 10% by 2010 from levels in 2005.

Experts argue that coal power generators with capacity below 300,000 kilowatts, which are relatively inefficient and generate more pollution, should be replaced by generators with higher capacity.

The Xinhua news agency reported earlier that power generation used more than 1.2 billion tons of coal last year, half of China's total coal consumption.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2007

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