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French energy company EDF to replace coal in China

By using tree residue, residents in the city of Lingbau can turn off their coal-fired boilers, the company said.

By Daniel J. Graeber
French energy company EDF to replace coal in China
By switching to biomass taken from tree residue, a French company said coal use in China could decline. File photo by imantsu/Shutterstock

Jan. 9 (UPI) -- An energy service contract for a municipality in China means its residents won't have to use coal-fired options, French company EDF said Tuesday.

A subsidiary of the French company two years ago took an 80 percent stake in UPC Asia Wind Manage, which runs wind power plants in the second-largest economy. Its work covers four wind power plants with a net capacity of 66 megawatts and EDF has one, a 40MW plant, under construction.

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Chairman and Chief Executive Jean-Bernard Levy said more agreements were signed while French President Emmanuel Macron was on an official state visit to China.

"With the aim of reducing its energy intensity by 15 percent by the year 2020, China represents an energy service market with high potential," Levy said in a statement.

RELATED Chinese oil import capacity from Russia doubled

EDF signed agreements with the city of Lingbao, which has a population of about 750,000 people, to build a 35 MW biomass cogeneration plant. By using tree residue from area farms, the company said it could meet the energy demands of about 25,000 people. By replacing coal-fired boilers, area residents will save about 150,000 tons of carbon dioxide, a potent greenhouse gas, each year.

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China is the second-largest economy in the world behind the United States. Oil demand in November was 9 million barrels per day, the second highest on record.

Chinese President Xi Jinping has put health at the forefront of government policy, however. The president has his signature on the Paris climate agreement and a regional assessment from consultant group Frost & Sullivan said it will be the Asian economies that lead the world in adopting clean energy technology.

RELATED China examines LNG potential in Alaska

French President Emmanuel Macron, for his part, is a staunch supporter of a push for a low-carbon economy, calling for a ban on oil and gas exploration and a phase out of the sales of new gasoline- and diesel-powered vehicles beginning in 2040.

France has one of the least carbonized electricity sectors among members of the European Union.

RELATED Xinhua: U.S. wasting opportunity in clean energy

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