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2017-03-10 / Energy Updates

China’s coal consumption falls for 3rd year in a row

BEI JING (AP) China’s consumption of coal fell in 2016 for a third year in a row, official data showed Tuesday, as the world’s top carbon polluter has emerged as a global leader in addressing global warming.

The National Bureau of Statistics said the consumption of coal, a major source of heat- trapping carbon dioxide emissions, fell by 4.7 percent last year, according to preliminary calculations.

The bureau said the share of coal in China’s total energy consumption mix fell to 62 percent in 2016 from 64 percent the year before. A revised figure in the China Energy Statistical Yearbook put the 2015 figure at 63.7 percent, but Tuesday’s report referenced the preliminary figures reported last year.

While China is the world’s biggest consumer of coal, its consumption levels have dropped as economic growth slows to its lowest level since 1990. With its major cities gripped by choking air pollution, China has also aimed to reduce coal usage in favor of natural gas and renewable energy including hydro, wind and solar power.

Directives in January from the National Energy Administration ordered the cancellation of about 100 coal-fired power plants planned across the country. Construction had already started on some.

China’s decline in coal use, however, did not signal an overall drop in energy consumption. The country’s total use of energy rose by the equivalent of 4.36 billion tons of standard coal, an increase of 1.4 percent over the previous year, the statistics bureau said. Consumption of crude oil increased by 5.5 percent and natural gas by 8 percent, the bureau said. Overall consumption of electricity from all sources rose by 5 percent, it said.

Consumption of renewable sources accounted for 19.7 percent of the total energy mix, up 1.7 percent from the year before.

Meanwhile, production of coal fell by 9 percent to 3.41 billion tons last year. China has for years been closing smaller, less efficient and more dangerous coal mines in a bid to boost productivity in the sector.

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