Group Says China Will Add 70 GW of Coal- and Gas-Fired Generation in 2023

A lobbying group for China’s power generation sector said the country will add about 70 GW of fossil fuel-powered capacity this year, even as renewable energy is set to provide more than half of China’s electricity production in 2023.

The China Electricity Council in a report published Jan. 19 said the 70 GW of new coal- and natural gas-fired capacity expected this year compares to about 40 GW of new fossil fuel-powered generation brought online in 2022.

Chinese officials said the country expects to bring 100 GW of new solar power capacity, and 65 GW of wind power, online this year. Renewables will account for more than 52% of China’s electricity output this year, up about 2.5% from year-end 2022, according to government data.

Electricity Demand up 6%

The Chinese government said electricity demand across the country is expected to increase by about 6% year-over-year, compared to a 3.6% jump in 2022 from 2021 levels. Energy analysts have previously told POWER China’s economy post-pandemic will rely on coal-fired power plants.

China’s imports of coal from Russia were up 20% in 2022 compared to the prior year, to 68.06 metric tons, according to data from the General Administration of Customs. China imported more coal as other countries turned away from Russian exports due to the Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which drove down the price of Russian-produced coal.

China recently broke ground on a 16-GW hybrid power project featuring both coal and renewable energy resources. China has a pledge to be carbon-neutral by 2060, but officials also have said they will accelerate the pace of new-builds for coal-fired generation for at least the next few years. Officials have said they expect the country’s carbon emissions will peak before 2030.

Reports from several groups, including the Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air (CREA) and Global Energy Monitor, have said China since 2016 has built or is developing more than three times the amount of coal-fired power generation as the rest of the world combined.

Darrell Proctor is a senior associate editor for POWER (@POWERmagazine).

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