In Bid To Improve Air Quality, Beijing Shutters Last Coal Plant

In Bid To Improve Air Quality, Beijing Shutters Last Coal Plant

BEIJING'S last large coal-fired power plant has suspended operations, meaning the capital has become the first city in China to have all its power plants fueled by clean energy.

The capital has long pledged to improve air quality by reducing the use of coal, which produces fine particles when burned that are crucial to the formation of smog.

The Huangneng Beijing Thermal Power Plant came into operation in June 1999. Du Chengzhang, the plant's general manager, told Xinhua news agency on Sunday that the plant was "an efficient and environmental friendly plant with advanced emission treatment equipment". Nonetheless, the coal plant will remain available, at least for the time being, as an emergency supply for the city's heating system.

According to Huaneng Group, the shutdown of the plant will cut coal consumption by 1.76 million metric tonnes a year, and reduce sulphur dioxide emissions by 91 tonnes, oxynitride emissions by 285 tonnes and dust by 110 tonnes.

Cai said a new power plant that will use natural gas as fuel is under construction and will start operating soon, adding that the municipal government will provide support to the company during transition.

The other three plants which used to consume over 6.8 million tons of coal each year were closed in 2014 and 2015.

There is no clean, attractive coal in Beijing anymore, to take from Donald Trump's preferred way of describing the black rock used to power most of the world's energy grid.

According to Cai, a new power plant is now being built and will rely only on natural gas.