Beijing, which has twice the average pollution in comparison to other cities in China, announced the closure of its last four major coal plants for next year. Pressure both domestically and abroad have forced Beijing to rethink its energy strategy after years of unprecedented economic growth.
The smog in Beijing is creating a city that is close to unlivable, a permanent cloud hanging over the city causing health problems. Increased population, rising vehicle use, and high polluting manufacturing have caused these issues. Now, a new strategy has been implemented to save the city.
The facilities will be replaced by four gas-fired stations with capacity to supply 2.6 times more electricity than the coal plants, according to Bloomberg. The increased deals with Russia for gas will provide cleaner electricity in the form of gas-fired generation.
China will have the largest wind capacity in the world next year, and, therefore, it should have the most generation. However, the rate at which it is installing is far faster than the grid can connect it. Globaldata reported that, last year, China added about 18GW of wind capacity, whereas the U.S only added around 4.9GW.
Overall, China has a significant problem and is dealing with it head on. Emerging economies can learn from China’s mistakes by implementing renewable energy strategies early on in meeting energy demand. The cost of growth has a price: smarter planning with slower and sustainable growth, rather than breakneck speed only to retrace later, will ensure a healthier economy, in more ways than one.