China was home to the vast majority of the world’s new coal power plants last year as it sought to bolster energy security, even as many other governments push to phase out the fuel.
China accounted for 96% of new coal power construction, 81% of newly announced projects, and 68% of generators coming online, according to data released Tuesday by Global Energy Monitor. Beijing has massively expanded its world-leading coal fleet after a series of power shortages in 2021 and 2022.
The build-out comes as the consensus hardens around the world that moving away from fossil fuels is necessary for avoiding the worst impacts of climate change. Beijing has insisted its new coal plants will only operate as backups to intermittent wind and solar generation. China added record amounts of both forms of clean energy generation last year, leading to expectations that demand for thermal power will fall in 2024.