World to guzzle coal with 1,200 new coal plants

There are 1,199 new coal plants in the pipeline around the world according to a working paper by the World Resources Institute which suggests there will still be huge demand […]

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By Vicky Ellis

There are 1,199 new coal plants in the pipeline around the world according to a working paper by the World Resources Institute which suggests there will still be huge demand for coal in the coming decades.

While many of the UK’s coal-fired plants are shutting down over the next few years to fall in line with EU rules, hundreds are planned in growing superpowers and developing countries around the world.

The international research group estimates an extra installed capacity of 1,401,278 megawatts (MW) is on the cards. With coal-fired plants a major source of greenhouse gas emissions, the working paper warns emissions could be increasing “significantly”.

China and India account for three quarters (76%) of proposed new coal power capacity with the projects spread across 59 countries, according to the WRI.

It seems Germany’s U-turn away from nuclear power has pushed it into the arms of coal, as along with the Indians and the Chinese its power companies are “notably” increasingly active in transnational coal-fired project development.

The “Big Five” Chinese power companies (Datang, Huaneng, Guodian, Huadian and China Power Investment) are the world’s biggest coal-fired power producers and are among the top developers of planned new coal-fired plants.

State-owned power companies play a dominant role in proposing new projects in China, Turkey, Indonesia, Vietnam, South Africa, Czech Republic and many other places.

While new coal-fired plants have been proposed in 10 developing countries, Cambodia, Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Laos, Morocco, Namibia, Oman, Senegal, Sri Lanka, and Uzbekistan, the WRI notes that currently there is limited or no capacity for domestic coal production in any of these countries.

As for existing coal power, the three largest producers are China with 36.2% of the global total, the United States (23.7%) and India (7.7%).