The photo is sourced from Getty Images
The pace of launching new coal-fired generators will grow even more due to the projects already underway: by early 2023, coal-fired plants of 115.5 GW capacity were under construction in China including the projects launched in 2022 for 45.2 GW. One fourth of the CHPPs under construction (16.4 GW) are located in Inner Mongolia Autonomous District in the North of the PRC, and in Guangdong Province (14.5 GW) in the South of the country. The last ones among the seven leading regions are Provinces Shandong (9.3 GW) and Jiangsu (8.3 GW) in the East of the PRC, as well as such regions as Gansu (6 GW) and Shaanxi (8.7 GW) in the central part of the country, and Hunan (7.1 GW) in the South-West.
On the contrary, the pace of shutting down the coal-fired CHPPs is slowing down: in 2021, 5.2 GW of generating capacity was decommissioned, and in 2022 – 4.1 GW. This slow-down is associated with the revision of policy pertaining to minor and poorly efficient CHPPs, which were completely shut down in 2010s, but now they are kept operating as standby capacitance.
According to Global Energy Monitor, the construction of the new coal-fired CHPPs will not result in abrupt growth of CO2 emissions due to simultaneous launch of low-carbon generators. For example, in 2021, China provided for 52% of incremental global capacity of wind power plants and 40% – of solar panels. At the same time, in 2022 China provided for connecting the big capacity of wind (7.6 GW) and solar (9.2 GW) generators to the grid, which is higher than the cumulative new capacities in the USA and Germany (5.2 GW and 2.4 GW respectively).
At the same time, China is actively developing the sector of carbon dioxide capturing, utilisation and absorption (CCUS) sector. According to Oil and Gas Climate Initiative, until 2030, the country will implement 16 CCUS projects including six in electricity generation, four in gas treatment and petrochem sector, and the remaining six in all other sectors of the industry. Construction of four CO2 storage facilities also will contribute to the development of this sector. They will be located in petroleum basins Suangliao and Bohai Gulf in the North-East of the PRC, as well as in the basins Dzungaria in the North-West and Ordos in the North of the central part of the country.
A series of technologies are already using carbon dioxide gas, said Zinfer Ismagilov, the Global Energy Prize laureate, in his interview to Electric Power Industry News. “First of all, this is production of urea, methanol, polymers, motor fuels, etc.”. According to Ismagilov, using CO2 in manufacturing new products may be an alternative for its injection into petroleum reservoirs to assure enhanced oil recovery. “To inject carbon dioxide gas into the reservoir, you need pressure. To get pressure you need to burn methane or some other fuel. And СО2 is emitted when methane is burned. You have this vicious circle. In addition, you need to make calculations: how much carbon dioxide gas can be injected and where. The holding capacities, from which oil and natural gas were produced, will not suffice for СО2 injection. That is why it extremely important to switch to new principles of working with carbon dioxide gas”, he explained.
Zinfer Ismagilov is the 2021 Global Energy Prize laureate. The new nomination cycle started on January 1 and will last until April 20, 2023. The applications are received in three nominations – Conventional Energy, Non-Conventional Energy and New Energy Applications. You can submit your candidate at the Global Energy website.