The Chinese capital of Beijing is looking to phase out all its coal-fired power generation capacity by the end of next year, the official Xinhua news agency reported Saturday.
According to municipal authorities, the city is planning to build four power generation bases that will include 40 utility-related projects to replace existing coal-fired plants with gas-fired generation, Xinhua said.
Total investment is pegged at Yuan 47.7 billion ($7.8 billion).
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The initiative is expected to reduce sulfur dioxide emissions by 10,000 mt and generate 7.2 GW of power fueled by natural gas.
All four of Beijing's existing coal-fired power plants which now account for 40% of Beijing's total coal consumption will be shut down once the new facilities come onstream, the report said.
The four facilities have a total generation capacity of about 2.7 GW.
Beijing has steadily converted the majority of its power plants to use gas. Producers have been given subsidies to help overcome the higher costs of using gas compared with coal.
Early last month, the Beijing government issued a directive for combating pollution and pledged to cut the city's coal consumption by 8 million mt/year by 2015 and 13 million mt/year by 2017. This compares with total consumption of 23 million mt last year.
The government said replacing coal-fired plants with gas-fueled power plants would reduce Beijing's coal consumption by about 9.2 million mt/year. The Keliyuan power station is expected to be brought offline by the end of the year while the Gaojing plant will stop operating next year and the Shijingshan and Guohua facilities are scheduled to close by 2015.
INCREASED NATURAL GAS SUPPLIES
The main Shaan-Jing gas pipeline network that currently supplies gas to Beijing from Shaanxi province is expected to supply 130 million cubic meters/day to Beijing by 2015, rising to 160 million cu m/day by 2017, according to the government circular.
This will be achieved by expanding the pipeline network to five pipelines by 2017 in cooperation with China's National Energy Bureau and pipeline operator China National Petroleum Corp. and securing additional gas sources.
Datang International Power Generation, one of China's largest independent utilities, has been developing the Keqi coal-to-gas project in Inner Mongolia, which is expected to be fed into the Shaan-Jing pipeline. First phase production is anticipated by year's end, the company said previously.
In addition, Beijing is also developing more gas receiving and processing terminals and onshore liquefaction facilities.
Last year, Beijing was the largest consumer of natural gas in China, with volumes rising 21.1% year on year to 9.2 Bcm, according to the National Development and Reform Commission.
--Song Yen Ling, firstname.lastname@example.org
--Edited by Irene Tang, email@example.com