As the global climate continues to deteriorate, more and more pressure will be put on countries with a large-scale coal-fired generation capacity

4 september 2018 | Rossiyskaya Gazeta

Environmental protection organizations expect that closing of coal-fired generation capacity should exceed the new coal fired generation capacity going into operation by 2022, thus marking the start of a global decline. For the time being, it is only countries that have very little or no coal fired power generation at all that have publicly announced that they will soon drastically cut the use of coal in power generation or drop coal completely. Countries dependent on coal need very serious economic or climate-change -related reasons to start phasing out coal, writes Rossiyskaya Gazeta.

Irina Pominova
Irina Pominova
Department for Fuel and Energy Sector

The challenges to the development of coal-fired generation are one of the topics of the new energy bulletin published by the Analytical Center. The bulletin states that the total share of 32 countries that announced their renunciation of coal-fired generation is just three percent of the total installed capacity of all coal-fired power plants around the world.

"The climate policy at this stage is fairly pragmatic and closely tied to economic interests. When ambitious climate change goals are announced that also has an image-boosting element", Irina Pominova, Deputy Head of the Department for Fuel And Energy Sector of the Analytical Center, told a Rossiyskaya Gazeta correspondent. According to her, for the developed countries, especially those dependent on energy imports, wider adoption of renewable energy is not just about combating climate change but also about energy security and development of cutting edge technologies for the future. "Meanwhile, even in the EU, the undisputed leader in the promotion of climate initiatives, you can see period spikes in coal consumption as a result of market forces. The European countries that announced they were going to stop using coal-fired generation by 2030 either don't have coal generation at all or only operate insignificant number of coal-fired power plants", the expert said. An important milestone could be German's decision to drop coal-fired generation (in Germany coal-fired power plants accounted for up to 39% of all power generation in 2017): Germany did announce it intends to do so (one should bear in mind, though, that Germany has a very high standard of living and the population in general supports climate policy). In Eastern Europe (and specifically in Poland), dumping coal-fired generation is probably going to take a long time, Ms. Pominova believes.

Currently, there are 260 new coal-fired power generation units under construction around the world, of which 62 percent were launched in 2017. The countries still building coal-fired power generation capacity include Bangladesh, China, India, Indonesia, Japan, Mongolia, Pakistan, the Philippines, Poland, Russia, Senegal and South Korea. Compared to 2016, the number of new projects has fallen by 29 percent. "As climate change picks up speed, more pressure will be put on countries with significant coal-fired power generation", the analyst believes.