China has completed the first 1,000-megawatt unit of the Shanghaimiao coal-fired power plant, the biggest of its kind under construction in the country, despite its COP-26 commitment to phasing down fossil fuels.
Its operator, the Guodian Power Shanghaimiao Corporation, a subsidiary of the central government-run China Energy Investment Corporation, said on Tuesday that the plant’s technology was the world’s most efficient, with the lowest rates of coal and water consumption.
Located in Ordos in the coal-rich northwestern region of Inner Mongolia, the plant will eventually have four generating units, and is designed to deliver power to Shandong province on China’s eastern coast via a long-distance ultra-high voltage grid.
China is responsible for more than half of global coal-fired power generation and is expected to see a 9% year-on-year increase in 2021, an International Energy Agency report published this month said.
Beijing has pledged to start reducing coal consumption, but will do so only after 2025, giving developers considerable leeway to raise capacity further in the coming four years.
A report published this month by researchers at China’s State Grid Corporation said energy security concerns mean the country is likely to build as much as 150 gigawatts of new coal-fired power capacity from now until 2025.
- Reuters with additional editing by George Russell