A coal-fired power plant in Huai'an city, Jiangsu Province, October 1, 2015. Credit: Imaginechina via AP Images Is coal having a revival in China? News that two state-owned energy companies have begun construction of a coal plant in Xinjiang is the latest evidence suggesting the country is reverting to the polluting energy source, following a summer of power shortages. Last month alone, China approved or began building 17 new coal power stations, according to domestic industry media, while permitting for coal power plants accelerated in the first half of 2022, according to a recent report by the Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air (CREA), a Helsinki-based think tank, and Global Energy Monitor (GEM) in San Francisco. Experts say Beijing’s desire to meet its long-term commitments to decarbonize its economy — coupled with the coal industry’s poor economics and the rise of renewable energy — still means coal will continue shrinking as a share of China’s energy mix. The question posed by these new coal investments is by how much, and how fast. “The economics of coalSubscribe or login to read the rest. Subscribers get full access to: Exclusive longform investigative journalism, Q&As, news and analysis, and data on Chinese business elites and corporations. We publish China scoops you won't find anywhere else. A weekly curated reading list on China from David Barboza, Pulitzer Prize-winning former Shanghai correspondent for The New York Times. A daily roundup of China finance, business and economics headlines. We offer discounts for groups, institutions and students. Go to our Subscriptions page for details.