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2018-05-25 | Peer Reviewed

Spatial Distribution of Coal-Fired Power Plants in China

Xie, Lunyu, Ying Huang and Ping Qin. 2018. “Spatial distribution of coal-fired power plants in China.” Environment and Development Economics 23: 495-515.
Download reference Doi: 10.1017/S1355770X18000098

Coal has fueled China's rapid growth in recent decades, but it also severely pollutes the air and causes many health issues. The magnitude of the health damage caused by air pollution depends on the location of emission sources. In this paper, we look into the spatial distribution of coal-fired power plants, which are the major emission sources in China, and investigate the determining factors behind the distribution. We find that the driving factors are economic development and expansion of electricity grid coverage; the latter factor plays a key role in provinces that are less developed but have abundant coal resources. This suggests a way to reduce health damages caused by air pollution without harming the economy: attracting coal-fired plants to less populated areas by developing trans-province electricity trade and grid coverage.