New project plans in China suggest the coal industry is really on the decline

China continues to have some of the highest levels of air pollution in the world. In a recent study, the burning of coal was cited as being the main contributor to air pollution-related deaths in China.

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In response to these studies, the Chinese government has committed to investing over $350 billion into clean energy projects and generating 13 million new jobs in renewable energy in the next 3 years. China is a leader in investment into renewable energy, particularly solar, wind and hydropower.

China has now announced the development of a ‘megaproject’ which consists of a giant floating solar farm placed on a former coal plant in Anhui. Back in 2017, workers activate the site with over 160,000 panels, capable of generating 40 MW of power, the equivalent energy for 15,000 households. It is the largest floating solar project in the world and will be operational for over twenty years.

The solar farm was developed by the local energy company Sungrow Power on the previously coal mining site. An explosion caused the mine to collapse, resulting in the formation of a lake. The solar site now sits on the lake, protecting agricultural land as well as surrounding wildlife. The water can also cool solar PV panels, be improving the efficiency of the entire process.
Late last year, China Three Gorges Corporation started the construction of an even larger floating solar farm which is due to become operational later this year. Energy experts believe the decision to replace an abandoned coal mine suggests a gradual decline of fossil fuels, especially the coal industry.
This transition away from coal is already happening worldwide, with countries such as Sweden phasing out fossil fuel usage since 2015 and replacing fossil fuels with cleaner alternative forms of energy.

China is now making similar moves and experts suggest that reduction in fossil fuel consumption in China will have a significant impact on the global energy industry. In the last year, China canceled the development of over 100 new coal plants that were due for construction.

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