Russia's Inter RAO is studying the possibility of building the world's largest coal-fired power plant to sell electricity to China in a sign of strengthening economic and political ties between the two countries.
Boris Kovalchuk, head of the Russian power monopoly, said it would examine the cost and timetable required to build the eight-gigawatt plant, which would use coal from the Erkovetskaya deposit in the Amur region in Russia's far east.
The largest coal-fired power plant currently is in Taichung, Taiwan, with a capacity of about 5.5 GW.
Inter RAO's announcement follows an historic US$400 billion agreement to sell Russian natural gas to China for the next 30 years.
Inter RAO already supplies China with electricity. A subsidiary, East Energy Company, last year increased electricity exports to China by 33 per cent to 3.5 billion kilowatt-hours.
Kovalchuk, whose father Yury is chairman of Bank Rossiya and was targeted by the United States in sanctions over Russia's actions in Ukraine, said that Inter RAO was looking for a loan from China to build the plant.
Analysts have estimated it would cost about US$12 billion to build.
"If our Chinese partners could make enough of the cheap money they have available, this would of course improve the economics of the project," Kovalchuk said.