Coal-fired power dying too slowly

In the paper Boom and Bust 2019, the coal-fired power plants under development worldwide are reported to have dropped steeply in 2018. According to the report released by Global Energy Monitor, Greenpeace India, and the Sierra Club, this is the third year in succession that coal-fired energy has declined, and the latest 20 per cent drop in newly completed coal plants heads a 39 per cent drop in new construction starts (creating a total of 84 per cent drop in the past three years).
Geographically the US accounted for over half (17,614 megawatts, or 45 units) of global retirements despite efforts by the Trump administration to prevent the closure of old plants.

The rate of decline is being enforced, in part, by the political and economic climate, including financial restrictions by over 100 institutions and coal phase-out plans in 31 countries. However, state-owned financial agencies in China, Japan, and South Korea have emerged as the largest sources of funding for coal plants outside their borders, respectively.

However, China, where satellite photos show developers have quietly restarted construction on dozens of suspended projects, bucks the trend. A new report by the China Electricity Council, which represents the country’s power utilities, proposes setting the country’s coal capacity cap at 1,300 gigawatts, a level that would allow 290 gigawatts of new capacity to be added—more than the entire coal fleet of the US (259 gigawatts).

The Boom and Bust 2019 report warns that global climate goals cannot be met without a full halt in new coal plants and a rapid retirement of operating coal plants.

Boom and Bust 2019.

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