Coal power's future lies with China and India

ASIAN power houses China and India will determine the uptake of coal-fired power stations for the next 40 years, according to Urgewald’s latest update of the Global Coal Exit List.
Coal power's future lies with China and India   Coal power's future lies with China and India   Coal power's future lies with China and India   Coal power's future lies with China and India   Coal power's future lies with China and India

Currently, almost half of the 522GW of new coal-fired power capacity planned worldwide is located in China.

It estimates new coal plants in the pipeline total 520 gigawatts, predominantly in Asia.

"While China has announced a 2060 carbon neutrality goal, the real litmus test for the government's climate ambition is its forthcoming 14th Five Year Plan to be decided in 2021," it said.

"Currently, almost half of the 522GW of new coal-fired power capacity planned worldwide is located in China.

"Accordingly, four of the world's five top coal plant developers are Chinese companies: China Energy (43GW), China Datang (34GW), China Huaneng (29GW) and China Huadian (15GW)." 

With close to 14 GW in the pipeline, India's National Thermal Power Corporation is the world's fifth largest coal plant developer.

However, in some Asian countries, the prospects for new coal power projects are beginning to crumble, according to Urgewald.

"In Bangladesh, which has the world's sixth largest coal plant pipeline, the State Minister for Energy and Mineral Resources announced in October 2020 that 16 out of 21 coal power plants would likely be cancelled," it said.

"And in the Philippines, which has the world's seventh largest coal plant pipeline, the Department of Energy in October 2020 declared a moratorium for further new coal power plants.

"In Malaysia, the country's state-owned utility Tenaga Nasional Berhad declared in September 2020 that it will not build any new coal power plants."

Almost half the 935 companies featured on the 2020 GCEL are in expansion mode and fewer than 25 companies on the list have adopted a coal phase-out date.