The National Development and Reform Commission has crafted a comprehensive plan to tackle China’s air pollution problem, and the price tag alone speaks volumes; cleaning the nation’s air will take some 1.7 trillion yuan (277 billion USD) over the next five years.
The biggest costs are related to reducing coal consumption and transferring much of China’s energy sector over to gas-fueled power plants, in addition to installing active air-cleaners at power stations and factories. Business Insider reports:
Gas IPPs [independent power producers] would need to construct around 93GW of gas capacity to replace coal IPPs and the total investment would amount to Rmb371 billion given the construction cost of Rmb4 million per MW for gas-fired plants. […]
Speeding up installation of deNOx (aimed at reducing nitrogen oxides) in power plants [is also necessary]. This investment is expected to total 350 billion yuan. Of this 73 billion yuan will be used to control Sulphur dioxide. 53 billion yuan will be used to control nitrogen oxides, 47 billion yuan will be used to control dust, and 40 billion yuan will be used to control VOC (volatile organic compounds).
The government is expected to approve more coal-to-gas projects in 2013, before commissioning the Datang Keqi project in the third quarter. The investment should total 119 billion yuan.
The entire project may seem wildly, unrealistically, crazily expensive, but China does have to tackle its air problem, and sooner is certainly better than later.