Beijing suspends last of its coal-fired power plants

Beijing's last coal-fired power plant suspended operations for good on Saturday in a move to reduce pollution in the Chinese capital.

The capital has long pledged to improve air quality by reducing the use of coal, which produces fine particles when burned that are crucial to the formation of smog.

The power plant is located in a suburban area in eastern Beijing and was responsible for providing heating to a 30-million-sqm area in southeastern Beijing.

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China Huaneng Group's Beijing Thermal Power Plant in Chaoyang District shut down its five coal-fired units, making Beijing the first Chinese city with no coal-fired generating units. Du Chengzhang, the plant's general manager, told Xinhua news agency on Sunday that the plant was "an efficient and environmental friendly plant with advanced emission treatment equipment". The city has been closing down its coal fired electricity units since 2014.

Cai said a new power plant that will use natural gas as fuel is under construction and will start operating soon, adding that the municipal government will provide support to the company during transition.

Since 2013, Beijing has shut down four coal-powered plants, replacing them with plants powered by natural gas, and cutting almost 10 million tonnes in coal emissions annually.

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Under the plan, Beijing will build no more large-scale power plants.

Beijing has 27 power plants, all of which rely on clean energy and have a total capacity of 11.3 million kilowatts. Three of these gas plants have already been built and are operational.

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