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Diffusion of China’s coal-fired power generation technologies: historical evolution and development trends


With increasing environmental pressure and the promotion of structural reforms on the supply side, a trend of transformation and upgrading is inevitable in coal-fired power generation. This study aims to analyze the historical evolution and predict the development trends of subcritical (Sub-C), supercritical (SC) and ultra-supercritical (USC) coal-fired power generation technologies in China. Employing the hierarchical clustering method, we divided 29 Chinese Provinces into four clusters based on their resource endowment, economic development level, technological development and power supply structure. Then, with the Bass model, we analyzed the national- and provincial-level diffusion processes of these three technologies. The results show that currently, at the national level, Sub-C coal-fired power generation technology is in the mature stage, SC technology is in the late growth period, and USC technology is in the rapid growth phase. Further, the diffusion of these three technologies has different characteristics in different clusters of provinces, and it is being transferred from economically developed eastern provinces to economically underdeveloped central and western provinces where coal resources are relatively rich. This research is helpful to the government in making policies to optimize the technical and regional structures of coal-fired power generation.

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This study was supported by the Humanities and Social Science Foundation (Grant No. 16YJA790037), Jiangsu Province Graduate Research and Innovation Project (Grant No. KYLX16_0516) and the Center for International Energy Policy Research (Grant No. 6J147125).

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Correspondence to Tao Lv.

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Zhang, M., Lv, T., Deng, X. et al. Diffusion of China’s coal-fired power generation technologies: historical evolution and development trends. Nat Hazards 95, 7–23 (2019).

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