Beijing, 2 March, 2016 – An updated Greenpeace East Asia report has found that in 2015 a total of 210 new coal fired power plants were granted environmental permits, in spite of the sector’s severe overcapacity problem. Moreover, the rate at which these redundant power plants are being approved by provincial governments was dramatically higher than in 2014, despite China’s central government having sounded the alarm on overcapacity multiple times. Greenpeace reiterates its call on the government to immediately halt approvals of new coal fired power plants and cancel all existing permits.

“Warnings about China’s overcapacity crisis are coming in left, right and centre, and yet the rate at which new coal power plants are being approved is increasing. These plants do nothing but fuel the overcapacity crisis and add huge debt burdens. It is a trend which must be halted immediately,” said Lauri Myllyvirta, senior global campaigner on coal.

If constructed, the 210 idle power plants would cost an estimated total of 640 billion rmb, while generating little or no profit. The Greenpeace East Asia and CoalSwarm joint investigation also found that at least 66 coal fired power projects with at least 73GW of capacity already entered construction in 2015, underlining the urgency of tackling the permit glut.

“Money which could be invested into speeding up China’s shift to renewable energy sources is instead being recklessly thrown into the dying, dirty coal industry,” said Lauri Myllyvirta.

Greenpeace East Asia demands that central government immediately institute a ban on issuing new permits for coal-fired power plants, review permits issued at provincial level and cancel all permits for projects in regions with overcapacity. Greenpeace East Asia also calls on the government to include a binding national coal consumption cap in the upcoming 13th Five Year Plan in order to consolidate China’s shift away from coal.

Notes to Editors:

UPDATE: Is China Doubling Down on its Coal Bubble PDF

Media contact:

Tom Baxter
International Communications Officer, Greenpeace East Asia
email: [email protected]
phone: +86 188 1134 4861

Greenpeace International Press Desk
Email: [email protected]
phone: +31 (0) 20 718 2470 (available 24 hours)