Beijing shuts last coal power plant in switch to natural gas

March 19, 2017
The last large coal-fired power plant in Beijing has suspended operations, with the city's electricity now generated by natural gas

The last large coal-fired power plant in Beijing has suspended operations, with the city's electricity now generated by natural gas, the state news agency reported as smog enveloped the Chinese capital this weekend.

The shuttering of the Huaneng Beijing Thermal Power Plant comes on the heels of China's annual legislative sessions, where Premier Li Keqiang promised to "make our skies blue again" in his state-of-the-nation speech.

According to Xinhua, Beijing has become the country's first city to have all its power plants fuelled by , an objective laid out in 2013 in the capital's five-year clean air action plan.

The Huangneng plant is the fourth to be closed and replaced by gas thermal power centres between 2013 and 2017, cutting nearly 10 million tonnes in coal emissions annually.

Xinhua reported the move the night before municipal authorities issued a blue alert for heavy air pollution on Sunday.

Smog has cloaked the capital for several days and is expected to continue through the week.

Since last Wednesday' closing of the National People's Congress, the annual meeting of China's rubber-stamp parliament, PM2.5 (harmful particulate) levels have remained between 200 and 330 micrograms per cubic metre—well above the World Health Organization's recommended maximum average exposure of 25 micrograms per cubic metre in a 24-hour period.

The pollution often vanishes during prominent events like the legislative sessions and the 2008 Summer Olympics as authorities order factories to halt activity and force cars off the road.

During the 2014 gathering of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation in Beijing, this clear air phenomenon was dubbed "APEC blue."

During the one-week-and-a-half period of the NPC, average PM2.5 levels hovered between 50 and 80, despite exceeding 200 micrograms per cubic metre just one day before the opening of the parliamentary sessions on March 5.

In response to a reporter's question about this disparity at his annual press conference last Wednesday, Li repeated his pledge to target coal-burning and vehicle emissions.

"We may not be able to control the weather, but we can adjust our behaviour and our way of development," he said.

"Blue skies should no longer be a luxury, nor will they be."

Explore further: Beijing shuts large coal power plant to curb smog

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gkam
1 / 5 (4) Mar 19, 2017
Why do some people still favor coal? Do they not understand what their pollution does to others?

Do they care?
geokstr
1 / 5 (1) Mar 20, 2017
Why do some people still favor coal? Do they not understand what their pollution does to others?

Do they care?

The article says the Chinese are changing over to natural gas, which you oppose because it's obtained here by fracking, and is making us finally independent of the sheikhs and mullahs, who want to drag us back to the 7th century with them. So let's see - you forbid oil, coal, gas, hydro and nuclear. You believe we can satisfy all our energy needs, even in the short run, with sunshine, breezes, waves and recapturing the energy losses from tire friction with the road.

Are you personally ready to give up your powered vehicle, heating, air conditioning, TV, microwave, toaster, air travel, any grocery food brought in by air, truck or ship, anything made with plastic, your iPhone and computer - tomorrow? In fact, everything made using anything but your approved energy?

If so, then I'll take your environmental virtue-signaling seriously. If not - sod off.

Da Schneib
5 / 5 (2) Mar 20, 2017
The Chinese reduce their future carbon footprint by 50%.

What's not to like? At least they're smarter than Trump.
gkam
1 / 5 (4) Mar 20, 2017
hey, geojerk, I don't have a coal-powered car or house or airplane or truck or ship, and plastic is made from oil, not coal.

We are using a system based on the technologies of the past and still in it because it is major investment. Utility power units have long lifetimes, and replacement takes a while, since we have to prove how bad they are to the deniers before we can shut them down.

And I did not say we could do all that right now,with you and the Koch Brothers in the way.

But we will do it. I'm already clean, and I don't live like in the 7th Century, the Age of Republican Minds.

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