A detailed analysis of powerplants in China by MIT researchers debunks
the widespread notion that outmoded energy technology or the utter
absence of government regulation is to blame for that country’s
notorious air-pollution problems. The real issue, the study found,
involves complicated interactions between new market forces, new
commercial pressures and new types of governmental regulation…
China’s power sector has been expanding at a rate roughly equivalent to
three to four new coal-fired, 500 megawatt plants coming on line every
week…most of the new plants have been built to very high technical
standards, using some of the most modern technologies available. The
problem has to do with the way that energy infrastructure is being
operated and the types of coals being burned.
The good news is that there is a single lever — coal quality — that could have an enormous impact on Chinese pollution levels. Here is the full story.