Aug. 14 (UPI) -- The construction of new coal-fired power plants will be "strictly controlled" in order to clean up the nation's economy, the Chinese government said Monday.
The National Development and Reform Commission said about 150 million kilowatts of new coal-fired power will be halted or postponed under a five-year plan ending in 2020. The government said controls would ensure clean-energy resources are promoted further.
"New capacity will be strictly controlled," a government statement published by the official Xinhua News Agency read.
According to S&P Global Platts, Chinese coal imports in June were down about 2.6 percent from the previous month and lower than last year by about 0.7 percent. Coal mining production is up 10 percent from last year.
Xinhua reported the Chinese government is working to lower the proportion of coal-fired power on its grid in order to make room for more renewable energy resources. According to the report, coal will account for less than 58 percent of total consumption by 2020, a decline of about 2 percent from current figures.
Of the 37 coal producers listed in the Shenzhen Stock Exchange, more than half estimated that profits during the first half of 2017 at least doubled from last year.
Platts reported coal-fired output was up 7.1 percent, wind increased 17.9 percent and solar expanded by 35.1 percent from last year.
China, which has the second-largest economy after the United States, could gain the advantage in the drive to develop a low-carbon economy because U.S. President Donald Trump has put more emphasis on the oil and natural gas sector. The U.S. government in early August notified the United Nations of its intent to leave the international Paris climate agreement "as soon as it is eligible to do so."