Dirty Limit

BEIJING, March 7, 2007 (AFP) – China will no longer allow new coal-based power generators with a capacity below 300,000 kilowatts to be built, hoping to alleviate pressure on the environment, state media reported Wednesday. New coal power generators should be equipped with facilities to reduce sulphur and soot emissions, the China Business News reported, citing the National Development and Reform Commission, the top planning agency.

The decision is part of efforts to meet a target of cutting energy consumption per unit of gross domestic product by 20 percent and pollution by 10 percent by 2010 from levels in in 2005.

Chinese officials have admitted that they missed energy efficiency targets for 2006 by a wide margin.

Experts argue that coal power generators with capacity below 300,000 kilowatts, which are relatively inefficient and generate more pollution, should be replaced by generators with higher capacity.

The Xinhua news agency reported earlier that power generation used more than 1.2 billion tonnes of coal last year, half of China’s total coal consumption.

According to official statistics, coal-based power generators with relatively small capacities were responsible for 35 percent of China’s t