• Study projects huge savings for China if it reduces coal firing

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      Patrick Lavery

      Combustion Industry News Editor

A study by climate think tank TransitionZero has suggested that China could save US$1.6 trillion (€1.3 trillion) over 20 years by changing power generation from coal to renewables, as the BBC reports. Chinese coal-fired capacity currently makes up more than half the world’s total, with 1058 plants, and TransitionZero says that China needs to close 588 of them to be on track to meet its climate pledges. The most recent five-year plan, for the period 2021-25, risks creating ‘stranded assets’ according to the analysis, as the investment in building the plant will be lost as renewables replace its function, making it redundant and financially valueless. There may be some truth in this, but it is also possible that such plants might be converted in the future to fire ‘green’ ammonia or be retrofitted with carbon capture and storage. In addition, it is unclear from the BBC report if ‘baseload’ considerations have been taken into account – that is, the added costs in managing the intermittency of renewables at a higher share of renewables. Such considerations might be somewhat displaced, however, with the building of new nuclear capacity, which the BBC report mentions China is undertaking.