Last year, China permitted more new coal power plants than it had since 2015, with a total capacity of 106 GW vs. 23 GW a year earlier.
Many projects were approved in a fast-track process and began construction just months later.
China has been ramping up its coal production to keep up with growing demand, with the total figure for 2022 rising to a record 4,496 million tonnes, up 10.4% YoY (see Fig. 3). And yet this output is far too low, so China is now importing more coal, even from Australia, signaling the end of an unofficial ban that ran for over two years. Around 2 million tonnes of thermal coal were already shipped off this February,
and over another 1 million tonnes have been booked to load in March.
China is showing a strong resolve to achieve self-sufficiency, with the government raising import duty on thermal coal to 6% from 1 April to support local producers (last April, import duty on coking and thermal coal was reduced to zero with effect from 1 May 2022 until 31 March 2023).