Rows of photovoltaic panels installed over the hills provide unique scenery in Nianzhang township of Xiaxian county in Yuncheng city, Shanxi province. (Photo by Zhang Xiufeng/For chinadaily.com.cn)
Coal-rich Shanxi province's action plan for zero-carbon coal-mining is pioneering green and low-carbon transformation across North China, and will popularize technologies like carbon capture, utilization and storage — CCUS — and promote industrial growth, experts said.
Shanxi said it aims to select around five coal mines for use of technologies such as energy conservation, carbon reduction, zero-carbon power supply, gas utilization and ecological carbon sinks, to achieve net-zero carbon dioxide emissions.
These sites are projected to reduce CO2 emissions per metric ton of raw coal by over 20 percent compared to 2020 levels, and achieve net-zero emissions by 2030.
Wu Lixin, chief expert of the Coal Industry Planning Institute, which is part of China Coal Technology and Engineering Group, said: "This roadmap offers a green and low-carbon transformation plan for the traditional high-carbon industries, offering methods for calculating relevant indicators, such as total CO2 emissions and their intensity. It serves as a reference for low-carbon transformation for areas that are rich in traditional resources."
Wu said the action plan would drive the energy industry toward clean and efficient utilization, across coal mining, coal-fired power generation, steel, nonferrous metals and coal chemical industries.
"It would also promote the development of CCUS technologies, and raise standards and norms for green exploration of coal and minerals, coal mine construction, development, utilization and processing equipment."
Lin Boqiang, head of the China Institute for Studies in Energy Policy at Xiamen University, noted the action plan signifies Shanxi's commitment to low-carbon transformation. "Aside from CCUS, there are numerous technologies that achieve zero-carbon emissions in coal mining processes, such as utilizing clean energy sources like wind and solar to power mining operations, or offsetting emissions through carbon sink and carbon trading."
A study published by the journal of Advanced Engineering Sciences said carbon emissions resulting from coal development and utilization are a major contributor to China's overall carbon emissions, accounting for around 60 percent to 70 percent of the national total in 2021.
As a traditional coal-producer, Shanxi's first-half output reached 678.38 million tons, or about 29.5 percent of the nation's output, according to the provincial bureau of statistics.
In recent years, Shanxi has accelerated its efforts to integrate the coal industry's development with carbon reduction technologies. By the end of June, Shanxi had established 46 intelligent coal mines, with advanced coal production capacity accounting for over 80 percent.
The province's energy consumption intensity has cumulatively decreased by over 13 percent since 2019, according to the provincial energy administration.