China Cuts Coal Consumption Again

China - coal usage and electricity

Following on from 2014, China again reduced the amount of coal it burned last year – and by a greater amount.

The recently published  “Statistical Communique Of The People’s Republic Of China On The 2015 National Economic And Social Development” reveals while the nation’s population grew by millions last year and along with it energy consumption, consumption of coal declined by 3.7 percent. This follows a 2.9 percent cut in 2014.

According to a related New Scientist article, the dip in China’s coal consumption over the past two years is equivalent to an entire year’s coal consumption in Japan.

In 2015, coal accounted for 64.0 percent of the nation’s total energy consumption; while clean energy use including hydro, wind, solar and (questionably) natural gas and nuclear accounted for 17.9%.

The reservations about natural gas and nuclear being clean aside, it was a phenomenal year for renewables; particularly wind and solar.

The end of last year saw 129.34 gigawatts of installed grid-connected wind power generation capacity, up 33.5 percent. Total grid connected solar power generation capacity reached 43.18 gigawatts, a massive increase of 73.7 percent.


China’s installed solar PV total is now around 8 times that of Australia. As we reported last week, the USA’s cumulative solar PV installations had reached around 25 GW by the end of 2015.

As for other power generation statistics in China; thermal power generation capacity was 990.21 gigawatts by the end of last year, up by 7.8 percent. Installed hydropower was up 4.9% to 319.37 gigawatts and nuclear power generation capacity had reached 26.08 gigawatts, up by 29.9 percent.

By the end of 2015, China’s total installed electricity generation capacity was a gargantuan 1,508.28 gigawatts, up by 10.5 percent over the end of the previous year.

China’s mainland is now home to 1,374.62 million people, an increase of 6.80 million over 2014. Of this total, urban permanent residents numbered 771.16 million, accounting for 56.10 percent of the total population.

Aside from energy related statistics, the Communique generally makes for fascinating reading; full of all sorts of interesting facts and figures. The huge document can be viewed here.