Tighter emission standards for China’s thermal power plants announced in a report on the Ministry of Environmental Protection website may require $41bn investment.

Emissions allowances for sulphur dioxide, nitrogen oxide and soot for thermal power plants would be reduced, while mercury discharges from coal burning and emissions from gas-fired boilers would also be restricted for the first time, said Reuters.

Emissions levels in environmentally sensitive regions will also become tougher in the new standards, to take force from 1 January 1 2012.

The stricter rules could require 260bn yuan ($40.74bn) in new investments for power companies by 2015 to meet several key requirements, said Reuters.

China had 707 GW of thermal power generating capacity at the end of 2010, accounting for 73 per cent of its power generating capacity.

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