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China cuts coal dependency to prevent environmental degradation

Jubair Hasan | Published: November 25, 2017 18:14:40 | Updated: November 26, 2017 19:48:32


China, the world's largest consumer of coal, has started reducing dependency on the fossil fuel to protect environment from being heavily polluted.

To lessen the emission of Sulphur Dioxide (SO2), the country has started relocating and reconstructing coal-dependant industries with the latest technology for the last several years, while investing heavily in renewable energy sources that are alternatives to coal.

Official data showed that coal accounted for 72 per cent in the country's primary energy mix in the 90s and earlier decades in the century.

In recent years, the share dropped to 65 per cent because of various pro-environment moves the country has implemented.

According to the 13th five-year plan (2016-2020), the target is to drop below 60 per cent.

Director of the Institute for Urban and Environmental Studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Science Pan Jiahua said the government has taken various steps to reduce dependency on coal.

Describing China's plan to reduce coal dependency, he said the first step in the 80s was to reduce dust, and the country progressed a lot in that area, but the problem is to control emission of sulphur dioxide.

“China is emitting 25 million tonnes SO2 and became number one in the world. I think, very recently, India overtook China in that mater,” he said.

The second step is to increase efficiency of the coal-fired plants and industries by installing super critical technologies. For example, China earlier needed to burn 450 grams of coal to produce one kilowatt hour of power, but now 270 grams is enough to generate the same watts of electricity, which is very impressive, he added.

Jiahua said the third step is to cut the share of coal in the energy mix by bringing in environment-friendly renewable energy sources like hydro-power, solar pv and wind.

“Now the combination of renewable sources in the energy mix rose to over 17 per cent. In fact, China is number one in the world in terms of generating power through hydro, solar and wind and the plan is to raise the share to over 25 per cent by 2030,” he added.

Official data also showed that Beijing cut coal consumption from 23 million tonnes in 2013 to just over 7.0 million tonnes in 2016.

 

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