China, where 75% of power generation comes from coal-fired thermal power plants, is the largest sulphur dioxide (SO2) emitter in the world. The country has adopted a regulatory framework to drastically reduce air pollutant emissions. It is expecting positive impacts in terms of reducing local pollution, improving air quality, and reducing respiratory diseases. All coal-fired thermal power plants in China were supposed to be equipped with desulphurisation units by 1 January 2010, failing which their operating licenses would be withdrawn. In the meantime, power plants emitting SO2 were subject to financial penalties.
AFD’s financing concerns the implementation of a desulphurisation system in a coal-fired power plant located in Laibin, in Guangxi Province. The Laibin B power plant, with an installed capacity of two times 360 MW, was built under a build-operate-transfer (BOT) arrangement involving EDF and Alstom.
It was commissioned in November 2000 and supplies over 10% of annual power generation in the province. It is the first BOT project in the power generation sector in China mobilizing international funds.
Following the commissioning of the desulphurisation unit, the SO2 emissions from the Laibin B power plant will be reduced by 90%. The local air quality will be improved, which will contribute to reducing the emergence of respiratory diseases. From an economic perspective, the gypsum produced following the desulphurisation of flue gas will be recovered.
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