One of downtown Beijing's most visible smokestacks is now no longer belching emissions into the CBD sky.

The Guohua Power Plant, whose looming smokestack towers over the eastern CBD via its Dawang Lu location just behind the Ritz-Carlton Hotel and mega-fancy Shin Kong Place, was decommissioned last week after Beijing shut off the heating supply for the city as it does each year on March 15.

The massive chimney has been a very visible part of the eastern CBD skyline for 50 years as it vented steam and smoke just hundreds of meters from some of the city's fanciest digs.

Although emissions at the plant have been lowered by several pollution control retrofittings over the years, the plant was still emitting about 1,400 tons of sulfur dioxide, 2,690 tons of nitrogen oxides and 420 tons of dust annually at the time it was shut down.

The heating capacity of the plant is set to be replaced by a new natural gas plant to be located in the Beijing suburbs.

Calls for the government-owned coal plant to be moved were heard as early as 2009, but ran up against huge opposition from different vested interest groups, the 21st Century Business Herald reported.

However, as awareness of air quality has permeated society and Beijing doubled down on their pledge to clean the air for its 2022 Winter Olympics bid, shutting down of Guohua was finally put on schedule and pulled off just before yesterday's arrival of the IOC inspection tour.

Another coal-fired plant located in Shijingshan was also closed simultaneously.

According to the Clean Air Action Plan, Beijing is aiming to cut coal use from 23 million tons per year to 10 million by 2017. By next year, two further coal plants in Beijing will be closed, including the Huaneng power station that caught fire March 13.

We’ve heard Beijing promise clean air millions of times, but each time we see things like this happen, our moods get just a little bit brighter. In addition to reducing the amount of coal use, the government is also making efforts to move dirty industries further away from the city and improve the quality of coal used in the suburbs. Come on, 2022!

Image: China Daily


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