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China will shut down 1,000 coal mines

Entro quest’anno uno dei maggiori produttori e consumatori di carbone inizierà a chiudere le proprie miniere. Per ripulire l’aria e puntare sulle rinnovabili.

While the photographs of the major Chinese cities blanketed by smog are still vivid in our memory, good news comes from China: the country will shut down 1,000 coal mines this year.

 

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Coal mine in Shanxi region © Kevin Frayer/Getty

 

The decision has been confirmed by latest data provided by the government pointing out how the role coal plays in energy generation is rapidly giving way to other – mainly renewable – sources. According to the country’s State Council, a reduction of 500 million tonnes of coal is likely to be registered in 3 to 4 years.

 

“This trend may continue for 3-5 years or even longer,” said Li Junfeng, director general at the National Climate Change Strategy Research and International Cooperation Centre to The Guardian. “Today’s figures are sending the strong signal of the clear acceleration of China’s energy transition. I think thermal coal power generation will continue to drop with an annual speed of 2-4% and the non-fossil power generation will stay in a high growth rate of 20%.”

 

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Women working in a coal mine © Kevin Frayer/Getty

 

This is an extremely important signal. The world’s major coal producer decided to change its energy policies, probably because of a severe worsening of air quality, as well as the slowdown of the Chinese economy.

 

The major push comes from the records the Eastern giant hit in the field of renewables. According to the Global Wind Energy Council, China outdid the 27 European countries for installed wind power, at least in 2015. It means it registered a significant increase in new installations, with peaks of 30GW of new installed power. Such trend has been confirmed by Bloomberg New Energy Finance, which explained how the resources allocated to renewable energy have increased in China, USA, Africa, Latin America, and India. China hit new record for installed capacity last year, with 64GW from wind and 57GW from solar energy. And it is in the lead, with 110.5 billion dollars (+17 per cent) invested in photovoltaic.

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