China intends to cut average coal use at power plants in order to increase energy efficiency and minimise greenhouse gas emissions. The NDRC said that coal-fired power plants must reduce their consumption rate to an average of 300 grams of standard coal per kilowatt-hour (kWh) by 2025.

"Further boosting energy savings and consumption reduction at coal-fired power units is an effective means of improving energy efficiency and is of major importance for achieving carbon emission peak in the power industry," the NDRC said.

CO2 emissions from China's power generation and heating industry account for roughly 40% of the country's total CO2 emissions. The average amount of coal used in power generation was 305.5 grams per kWh in 2020, compared to 370 grams per kWh in 2005.

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"Coal consumption reductions contributed to a reduction of 6.67 billion tonnes of CO2 emissions from the power sector between 2006 and 2020, accounting for 36% of total emissions reductions in the industry," according to the NDRC.

The NDRC has requested that new power plant projects use ultra-super critical units that utilise coal at a rate of less than 270 grams per kWh on average. New water-cooling units that use more than 285 grams per kWh and air-cooling units higher than 300 grams per kWh will be prohibited.

It also stated that power plants that utilise more than 300 grams of coal per kWh and cannot be modified to increase energy efficiency will be gradually shut down.

In 2021-2025, the country also expects to complete flexibility modifications at 200 gigawatts of coal-fired power capacity, which will allow coal plants transition from the major fuel source to backup power sources and enhance renewable energy consumption.