Smoke billows from a chimney of the Shanghai Waigaoqiao Power Generator Company coal power plant in Shanghai on March 22, 2016. Environmental watchdog Greenpeace warned on March 22 the worlds coal plants are deepening the global water crisis as the water consumed by them can meet the basic needs of one billion people. / AFP / JOHANNES EISELE (Photo credit should read JOHANNES EISELE/AFP/Getty Images)

China risks wasting $490 billion by building more coal power plants than it needs as slower power demand growth and less polluting energy sources squeeze coal generation out of the power mix, according to a study from an environmental think tank.
As of July, the country had 895 gigawatts of operating coal capacity being utilized less than half the time, with another 205 gigawatts under construction, London-based Carbon Tracker Initiative said in the report.
The study echoed findings of the International Energy Agency in September that showed China may be investing too much in coal power and suggests generators haven’t responded to the government’s ambition to scale back on the pollution causing global warming.
China installed a record 46.9 gigawatts of solar and wind last year, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance, reflecting the government’s pledge to ratify the Paris accord on climate change and bring greenhouse-gas emissions to a peak no later …