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article imageDevelopment of coal-fired power plants has dropped worldwide

By Karen Graham     Mar 28, 2019 in Environment
The number of coal-fired power plants being developed around the world has collapsed over the past three years, according to a report from the NGO-backed Global Energy Monitor.
The report, Boom and Bust 2019 - TRACKING THE GLOBAL COAL PLANT PIPELINE, noted several key developments in 2018, including A 39 percent drop in new coal plant construction starts from 2017, and an 84 percent drop since 2015, while the number of completed coal plants has dropped over 50 percent since 2015.
The Sydney Morning Herald also covers the report, under the headline: “‘Peak coal in sight’ as new power stations drop and retirements jump.”
The continued decline of coal plants pivots on what China is doing, though. China is bucking the trend with satellite photos showing developers have restarted work on more than 50 gigawatts (GW) of suspended coal-fired power plants last year, reports the Thomas Reuters Foundation.
Beijing  China in August 2005.
Beijing, China in August 2005.
BaBak (CC BY-SA 2.5)
And adding insult to injury, China leads the world in funding coal plants and associated projects like mines and ports, financing one-quarter of all global coal power capacity under development outside of China.
Lauri Myllyvirta, an analyst with Greenpeace's Global Air Pollution Unit, said Chinese firms are now "pushing for hundreds of additional coal-fired power plants. Another coal power construction spree would be near impossible to reconcile with emission reductions needed to avoid the worst impacts of global warming."
China is the world's biggest polluter and has faced an uphill battle transitioning from coal  w...
China is the world's biggest polluter and has faced an uphill battle transitioning from coal, which is used to generate roughly three-quarters of its power
FRED DUFOUR, AFP/File
Global carbon emissions
Data from the International Energy Agency published on Tuesday found that global carbon emissions rose in 2018, with a young fleet of coal plants in Asia accounting for a third of the increase.
According to the report released on March 26, demand for all fuels increased in 2018, with fossil fuels meeting nearly 70 percent of the growth for the second year running - leading to global energy-related CO2 emissions rising by 1.7 percent to 33 Gigatonnes (Gt) in 2018.
Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory demonstrated coal gasification in large-scale field experimen...
Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory demonstrated coal gasification in large-scale field experiments at the Rocky Mountain Test Facility (above) near Hanna, Wyoming.
U.S. Department of Energy
Coal-fired power plants accounted for one-third of all the emissions - with most of the emissions coming from a fleet of new coal power plants in developing Asia.
“We have seen an extraordinary increase in global energy demand in 2018, growing at its fastest pace this decade,” said Dr. Fatih Birol, the IEA’s Executive Director. “Last year can also be considered another golden year for gas, which accounted for almost half the growth in global energy demand."
The Guardian is reporting the World Coal Association said in a statement: “As the largest source of electricity generation, coal will continue to be a critical enabler of development. For many countries, particularly in south and south-east Asia, it underpins economic development. We must respect and support them in their choice and fund low emissions technologies.”
More about fosil fuels, coalfired plants, china bucking trend, Renewables, Coal plant retirements
 
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