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China could save $1.6 trillion by moving away from coal: Report


China could stand to benefit economically if it can successfully replace coal with renewable energy, according to a report by financial analytics company TransitionZero.

The study looked at the costs, or savings, that the Chinese government would incur if it replaced its existing coal-fired power plants with zero-carbon alternatives.

“What we found is China could save $1.6 trillion by doing that,” said Matthew Gray, co-CEO of TransitionZero, a London-based firm.

“There’s a huge economic incentive for China to get off coal,” he told CNBC’s “Capital Connection” on Thursday.

China has ‘great deal of work’ to do

Photovoltaic panels cover Tiangang Lake in Suqian, Jiangsu province, China, April 13, 2021.

Costfoto | Barcroft Media | Getty Images

Gray pointed out that China “already dominates zero-carbon technologies” — such as electric vehicles, solar energy and battery storage, and said the country is able to expand that infrastructure in order to reach its net-zero emissions goal.

The “far more concerning” aspect is whether China is willing and able to wind down its coal-powered plants. “They’re going to have to shut down those coal-fired power plants by 2040 or shortly thereafter, and that is going to be a huge challenge,” he said.

A report by GEM found that China commissioned 38.4 gigawatts of new coal plants in 2020, more than offsetting the 37.8 gigawatts of coal plants that were retired in other parts of the world last year.

“There’s a great deal of work that China will still need to do,” said TransitionZero’s Gray.



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2021-04-23 01:07:30

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