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New coal-fired power generation projects up


04-08-2016 05:46 BJT

Last November, the Chinese government said it would try to priortise wind energy producers ahead of coal producers when selling output to distributors and large industrial users.

The detailed guidelines of its initiative have yet to be disclosed, but it seemed at the time like good news for the big clean power generation companies in Gansu.
Gansu province ambitions in energy far exceed just providing for its own.

"Promoting clean energy and cutting emissions is a national target. The Gansu government has the ambition and ability to build a wind power basement serving the whole country," said Wu Shengxue, director, Energy Bureau of Jiuquan City.

"We have our advantages to do so. We have the three Gorges dam, and Jiuquan is full of wind powers....we thought the country would build up transmission infrastructure to carry the power to populous areas. "

Gansu Province wants to send its clean energy hundreds of miles away to China's central Hunan, Hubei and Jiangxi provinces.

But its ambition to go long-distance is being mitigated by power grid constraints, costs, safety concerns and other social problems.

"Long-distance power transmissions pose bigger risks of blackouts at the receiving end. If the power goes all of a sudden, it could cause large-scale blackouts at our end," said Wang Feng, division head, Energy Bureau of Jiangxi Province.

The truth is, Jiangxi and Hubei provinces are constructing new coal-fuelled power generation projects.

Hubei has approved of six in 2015, totalling almost 800 kilowatts of capacity while Jiangxi sanctioned four for 732 kilowatts.

That's a move against China's clean energy and environmental protection drive, as the burning of coal is the main weight of China's carbon footprint.

But it's a natural move, as coal provides more jobs, thus benefitting the local economy and the price of coal has also come down in recent years.

Li Junfeng, from the National Center for Strategic Research and International Cooperation on Climate Change, suggests local governments can't be depended upon to work unilaterally to promote clean energy. It needs a more holistic approach.

"Local governments should coordinate with each other. Now every province only focuses on their own problems...we can't rely on them. We should see this in a larger picture and tackle this issue as a whole," he said.

But this, of course, is easier said than done.

But for now, with many wind turbines sitting stiff, and new projects being turned down, it's all adding more woe for the country's bid for cleaner power.

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