Environment watchdog names 46 power plants
Forty-six coal-burning power plants were named on Thursday by the State Environmental Protection Administration for having failed to start building their desulphurization projects.
The projects account for more than 33 per cent of the 137 that are planned to be built in the "two controls" regions during the 10th Five-Year Plan (2001-05) to curb the discharge of sulphur dioxide (SO2).
The "two controls" regions, mostly include developed areas such as Beijing and Shanghai and covering a total of 1.1 million square kilometres, and refer to those regions with high SO2 emissions and serious acid rain.
A notice from the administration urges that all of the 137 projects should be completed by the end of this year, the final year of the 10th Five-Year Plan.
If any regions and companies fail to complete the projects by this time, the environment authorities will stop approving the environmental impact assessment reports of new and enlarged coal-burning power plants planned by the same regions and companies, the notice said.
The approval of environmental impact assessment reports of projects is the premise for the projects to get a final nod, according to Liu Zi from the pollution control section of the administration.
Sources with the administration said coal-burning power plants emitted 11 million tons of SO2 in 2003, which was more than 50 per cent of the total SO2 emissions in the year.
The current trend, if not changed, could lead to SO2 emissions of 21 million tons by 2020.
Whether the desulphurization projects could be finished or not is crucial to meeting the goals set for the "two controls" regions, which the country has only one year to achieve, the sources said.
The administration will work with other government bodies to design economic policies for SO2 control, which allow the inclusion of the desulphurization cost of coal-burning power generators in the prices for going into the grid.