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China to Accelerate Construction of Coal, Natural Gas Power Plants

China is set to speed up the construction of coal- and natural gas-fired power plants this year.

Coal facility
Coal facility

According to a report by the China Electricity Council, the country's power sector's top lobbying group, 70 gigawatts of fossil fuel capacity will be added this year, up from 40 gigawatts last year. The increase results from Beijing placing more emphasis on energy security due to power shortages and volatile global fuel prices.

Renewable Energy Grows Faster in China

Despite the increase in fossil fuel capacity, renewable energy will grow faster in China. The China Electricity Council predicts that 100 gigawatts of new solar and 65 gigawatts of wind will be added this year. By the end of the year, clean electricity is forecast to make up more than 52% of China's total power capacity, compared with 49.6% at the end of last year. This is short of the council's prediction that it would be a 50-50 split last year.

Pieces of coal in the palm
Pieces of coal in the palm

Electricity Demand to Rebound in China

The increase in power capacity is needed as electricity demand is forecast to rebound to growth of around 6% this year. This is up from 3.6% in 2022 as the economy recovers from lifting Covid restrictions. With the expected increase in consumption, the power balance will be tight during peak demand periods in many parts of the country, the council said.