Jiefang Daily, Shanghai Observer: Why Is Caojing Power Plant "Underfed" Despite Ultra-low Emissions?

Speaking of coal-fired power and thermal power, many people subconsciously associate them with smog and pollution, but that is not absolutely true. In the suburbs of Shanghai, there is a model thermal power plant in energy conservation and emission reduction.

 

"Coal-fired power plants are not scary, and could have a great effect if good measures are taken," commented Qi Yongyi, a Shanghai municipal CPPCC member. During the year-end inspection organized by Shanghai municipal CPPCC on the emission rehabilitation for key industries in Shanghai held yesterday, Qi and other CPPCC members felt surprised at the production environment of Caojing Power Plant, and repeatedly praised the power plant for the energy conservation and emission reduction measures.

 

Located in the southwest of Shanghai, adjacent to Hangzhou Bay, Caojing Power Plant is the first 1000 MW ultra-supercritical coal-fired power plant built in accordance with the national policy of "developing large units and shutting down small ones", the first 1000 MW-class coal-fired power plant constructed and put into operation by SPIC, and also one of the supporting projects of Shanghai World Expo 2010, with the two units put into operation in January and April 2010 respectively.

 

What is the size of the power plant? Caojing Power Plant accounts for 50 percent of all the four 1000 MW-class coal-fired power units in Shanghai. In 2017, Caojing Power Plant accounted for 9.33 percent of the total installed capacity in Shanghai and 13 percent of the city's annual power generation.

 

On December 25, 2014, Shanghai municipal environmental protection bureau confirmed various data for the flue gas clean emission of Unit 2 of Caojing Power Plant. On December 7, 2014, the demonstration project of flue gas clean emission passed the 168-hour commissioning smoothly and was put into commercial operation. The project on Unit 2 of Caojing Power Plant is among the first batch of environmental protection transformation demonstration projects on 13 coal-fired units approved by National Energy Administration.  

 

According to the measurement result of Shanghai municipal environment monitoring center, the dust, SO2 and NOx emission concentrations of Caojing Power Plant Unit 2 were 1.41 mg/m3, 9 mg/m3 and 21 mg/m3 respectively, all better than the emission standards of gas turbines, which enabled the power plant to reach a new level in emission reduction.

 

However, the CPPCC members were puzzled that the power plant was faced with the dilemma of "having not enough to eat" despite its low energy consumption and low pollution. During the inspection, only one unit of Caojing Power Plant was in operation while the other unit was out of operation. According to the related person in charge, the power plant runs at full load for only 5 percent of the time in a year.

 

"Power plants with low energy consumption and pollution should be encouraged to generate more power, and power plants that use more energy and cause more pollution should be encouraged to reduce power generation," said the CPPCC memebers.

 

Qi Yongyi believed that power plants could provide gas for the surrounding enterprises, treat sludge and even help dispose solid waste, and Caojing Power Plant has made relevant explorations. "This is a very good attempt for industrial layout and energy utilization. The government should make some long-term plans and provide more guidance and support in terms of policies."

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