We all know the story. China is an energy hog. Coal fired power plants continue to be built to meet the energy demands of the country. Pollution is getting worse and not just in Beijing. We also know that China slowed its nuclear power plant approval process in the wake of the Fukushima disaster that hit Japan.
At a meeting of the State Energy Commission, Premier Li Keqiang made a point that China will move forward in reforming energy production and consumption, and make energy use greener. As part of these reforms, China now plans to speed up the approval process for new nuclear power plants. To put this in perspective, China approved the construction of two nuclear reactors in 2013 with a generating capacity of 2.1 GW. This year, China intends to give the go ahead for nuclear projects totaling 8.6 GW.
Besides nuclear, China intends to construct additional hydropower stations, wind and solar farms, and ultra-high voltage transmission lines to send power from the west to the power hungry east. According to Li, “These energy projects can ensure stable economic growth and increase China’s capability to safeguard energy security.” Li also noted that the country will attempt to boost electric vehicle use and upgrade existing coal power plants that fail to meet emission requirements.