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Does China really need that much more coal-fired electricity?

Critics argue what the country needs is electricity-market overhaul

A coal-fired power plant in Shanghai. The central government is sharply reversing its previous course toward renewable sources and has cranked up production of coal to record levels.   © Reuters

Southern China's Guangdong province approved construction of six coal-fired power plants in less than a month with generating capacity of 9.7 million kilowatts, more than the total of capacity installed from 2016 to 2020.

The projects were previously considered impossible under the 14th Five-Year Plan through 2025 as China aims to reduce carbon emissions by increasing the use of nonfossil fuels, a person familiar with Guangdong's coal-fired power projects told Caixin. As part of the fight against climate change, the central government charted a course to dramatically reduce greenhouse gas emissions by substituting renewable sources such as wind, solar and hydropower for coal.

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