By - Jim Vess

Coal-fired generation set to grow over the next 10 years despite the rise in renewables

Energize Weekly, November 20, 2019

Coal – despite the rapid growth in renewable and natural gas generation – still accounts for the majority of the world’s electricity and is projected to increase at a compounded annual rate of 1.1 percent through 2030 to 2,345 gigawatts (GW), according to analytics consultant GlobalData.

Even with strong opposition to coal-fired power, a prime source of greenhouse gas emissions, and the economic pressures in some places, such as the U.S., of cheap natural gas, coal-fired generation continues to grow.

“Regardless of the negative implications on the environment, there exist a large number of massive mega coal-fired power plants across the world with more than 37 percent of the global electricity generation coming from this fuel,” Ankit Mathur, GlobalData’s practice head for power, said in a statement.

China leads in coal-fired capacity followed by the U.S., India, South Korea and Japan. Together they accounted for 78 percent the world’s coal-fired generation in 2018.

China alone has nearly 50 percent of global, coal-fired capacity with the U.S. accounting for 12.3 percent and India another 11.8 percent.

Five of the 10 largest coal-fired projects are in China, and the country has 120 mega-gigawatt projects with capacity of 2 GW or more. The U.S. and India each have 24 such power stations.

“China’s Tuoketuo Power Plant has remained the unchallenged leader in the list of top coal-fired projects, with a capacity of 6.7 GW,” GlobalData said.

Three of the world’s largest coal-fired plants are in South Korea, including the 6.1-GW Taean Thermal Power Plant – the second biggest in the world. Taiwan and Poland each have one of the 10 largest coal-fired plants.

The 3.35-GW Gibson power plant, in Gibson County, Ind., is the largest in the U.S., and the 4.8-GW Vindhyachal Super Thermal Power Station is the largest in India.

New coal-fired generation is also getting a boost in countries such as Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam and Indonesia.

“Despite concerns about air pollution and greenhouse gasses, coal is likely to continue its monopoly, driven mainly by South Asian countries,” Mathur said.

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