China’s ambitious goal of building 30GW of new power plants by 2020 has prompted a backlash from industry and policymakers in the U.S. and abroad, who are concerned about the risk of a slowdown in new coal-fired power generation as China slows its economic growth.
China is building a total of more than 400GW of coal-fueled power plants across its massive territory, according to state-owned China National Nuclear Corporation.
But the state-run China Power Engineering Corporation said it will build only 10GW of such plants by the end of the year.
“In China, the growth of coal consumption has slowed,” said Li Zhaofeng, an analyst at the consultancy China Investment Group.
“China is still in the early stage of the coal-consuming phase of its energy transformation, and the next decade will see a gradual slowing of its coal consumption.”
In addition, Li said, China is still struggling to implement its plan to phase out nuclear power by 2030.
China will continue to make progress on the goal to reduce its coal use, but it will be difficult to keep up, Li added.
The country has already reached its target of shutting down all coal-burning power plants, with most coal-powered plants shuttering by 2025.
In November, President Xi Jinping ordered a sweeping plan to shut down the country’s coal- and nuclear-powered industries by 2030, in part by investing billions of dollars in new plants.
China’s coal consumption fell by 10.4 percent in the first quarter of this year, compared with the same period a year earlier.
But analysts say it will take decades for coal consumption to recover from the disruption caused by the plan.
While coal consumption will be reduced over time, it may not be as easy to reverse as many of the promises made by China’s leaders to boost energy efficiency.
The government is seeking to boost the countrys capacity to produce energy with natural gas, a cheaper source of energy.