Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Capping Coal in China Will Drop Carbon and Particulate Pollution

China's power sector accounts for almost a quarter of the world's total coal consumption, or as much as all the OECD countries consume together. Controlling China's coal consumption - as Beijing has vowed in its most recent Energy Development Strategy Action Plan - requires the power sector to take significant measures to optimize its energy sources, using less dirty coal and more clean alternatives. Conducted as part of NRDC's China coal cap project, a new study by North China Electric Power University led by Assistant Professor Yuan Jiahai, lays out a pathway for capping coal consumption in which China's power sector can not only reduce its emission of dust, SO2, NOx, and other air pollutants but, more critically, contribute to economic and social gains through decreased coal power investments and fuel costs and increased health benefits.

Such a pathway adopts aggressive targets in energy efficiency and renewable energy deployment and integration, as well as end-of-pipe pollution control measures. For end-use energy efficiency, the study calculated the energy saving potential of using more efficient lighting, generators, transformers, speed governors, home appliances, and ground source heat pumps at a total of 701 TWh in 2020 - an amount that would take the Three Gorges Dam over seven years to generate - and even larger in the future.

When existing air pollution control regulations are effectively implemented - no new regulations required - such a coal cap scenario can significantly reduce dust, SO2, and NOx emitted by the country's coal-fired power fleet (see graph below). Furthermore, the coal cap scenario also projects lower CO2 emissions from the power sector (nearly 900 million tons lower compared to the reference scenario peak), and lower stress on water resources in China's coal-producing western regions: compared with the reference scenario, water consumption of six major western coal bases in the coal cap scenario is 57 million tons less in 2020, and 606 million tons less in 2030.

More @ Energy Collective

No comments: