Valuation Study

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Value of Adopting a Multiple Pollutant Control Strategy


Medium: Air

Country: China

Analytical Framework(s): Economic Analysis

Study Date: 2009

Publication Date: 2013

Major Result(s)

Resource/Environmental Good CNY, billion per year
Total benefit of pollutant reduction for SPC1 95.00
Total benefit of pollutant reduction for MPC2 113.00
Total benefit of pollutant reduction with coal washing 45.00

Study Note: In this study, it was noted that the current air pollution situation and the history of air pollution control in China show that simply controlling one pollutant over a period of time is not enough to cope with the complexity of air pollution. If ambient air quality improvement is targeted, multiple pollutants need to be controlled simultaneously. Therefore, the decision facing China during this study was whether to control multiple air pollutants by setting multiple pollutant control targets, or to control pollutants one by one as has been done in the past.

Study Details

Reference: Xie Xuxuan, Wu Dan. 2009. Economic Analysis of Multi-pollutant Control in Coal-fired Electricity Plants in China. EEPSEA Research Report, No. 2013-RR3.

Summary: Focusing on China's coal-fired electricity sector, this study showed the difference between single pollutant control strategy (SPC) and multiple pollutant control (MPC) strategies in terms of cost-effectiveness and found that end-of-pipe technology schemes for coal-fired power plants under MPC are more cost-effective than SPC. The findings were used to give suggestions supporting China's pollution control strategy transition to turn from a SPC strategy to a MPC strategy.

Site Characteristics: The electricity sector is a major coal consumer in China. Coal consumption for electricity production accounted for 30-45% of production from 1994 to 2007. As an important consumer of coal, the electricity sector is a major source of emissions. The percentage of SO2 emissions from the coal-fired electricity sector was about 35-45% of the country's total emissions from 2002 to 2006. Total NOX emissions from the coal-fired electricity sector in 2006 were estimated to be about 30% of the national total of NOX emissions. The coal-fired electricity sector is also the biggest global source of gas Hg emissions. Empirical data have shown that the coal-fired electricity sector plays an important role in the creation of air pollution control strategy, due to its large contribution, and the study aimed to analyze the sector within the SPC and MPC strategies because of their potential to improve pollution control scheme options.

Comments: The authors noted that because there was no official public data for CO2 emissions from the coal-fired electricity sector, they used the percentage of coal consumption by the coal-fired electricity sector for the whole country from 1995-2006 to estimate that about 46-69% of China's total CO2 emissions come from this sector, and that this trend was increasing every year.