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Getting rid of coal-fired power in Asia remains tall order

January 04, 2021

Energy Monitor:

The announcements at the end of last year came like a drumbeat: the Philippines declared a moratorium on new coal plants; at the Climate Ambition Summit, Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan vowed his country would turn its back on coal; Bangladesh, Kenya and Egypt have all torn up plans for major coal projects.

These are only the latest blows for a thermal coal industry that is in terminal decline in Europe and North America. The sector has long looked to fast-developing Asian economies as a source of near-term growth, even as climate concerns make its longer-term outlook dismal. However, analysis of the ten countries with the largest pipelines of new coal-fired power plants (all of which, bar South Africa, are in Asia) shows a rapidly darkening picture for coal bugs.

 “[Approximately] 90% of all coal-fired power plants built in Asia in the last five years were underpinned by export credit agency [ECA] finance,” says Tim Buckley, director of energy finance studies at the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA). These agencies provide government-backed loans, guarantees and insurance to companies exporting to developing countries – in this case, underwriting billions of dollars of exports of turbines and other electrical engineering equipment.

[Mark Nicholls]

More: Coal in Asia: Fading, but not fast enough

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