Another leading Chinese city aims to cut coal, up renewables

6 September 2012

BEIJING: The northern Chinese city of Tianjin has followed in the footsteps of Beijing by adopting greater measures to control total coal consumption and improve air quality, setting a strong example for the rest of the nation.

The Tianjin 2012-2020 Air Pollution Control Measures Notice announced that total coal consumption must now be kept within 15 million tons by 2015 with the 2010 figure as baseline.

Tianjin will control its total coal consumption by limiting the number of coal-fired power plants and switching to natural gas.

According to Zhao Enhai, Deputy Director, Tianjin Environmental Protection Bureau, no new coal-fired power plants will be constructed during the 12th Five Year Plan period. He said: “We are still advancing industrial development in Tianjin so we can only control the consumption increment instead of total volume reduction.”

Zhao Enhai also added that he expects the consumption of natural gas to shoot up to 16 million cubic meters by 2015, which is seven times that of 2010’s total volume.

Similarly, Lin Boqiang, Director of China Energy Economic Research Center, Xiamen University, pointed out that Tianjin must maintain a high GDP growth rate. He said that the great increase in energy consumption is unavoidable and setting a total coal consumption control target that is too strict would be unrealistic.

Tianjin is striving to cap coal consumption to below 40% by 2020. It is also aiming to increase its share of natural gas and renewable energy to over 23% and 5% respectively, during the 13th Five Year Plan period.

“Capping coal consumption is a critical step for China to dramatically reduce its reliance on fossil fuels,” said Changhua Wu, Greater China Director of The Climate Group. “Leadership from large cities and regions like Tianjin is expected to set a good example for others to follow suit.”

Currently there are four natural gas sources in Tianjin, namely Dagang, North China, northern Shaanxi and Bohai. To boost the supply, Tianjin is to add four new sources: Yong-Tang-Qing Branch, Tangshan, CNOOC coal seam and Tianjin Port. There will over 4,500 kilometers of new gas pipes, with total gas users increased to 4.05 million, fully covering the 16 counties within the city.

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