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Over half of the Chinese-backed overseas coal-fired power plant projects have been shelved or canceled over the past six years, underscoring the rising forces against coal investments globally.

Of the 52 projects with Chinese financing announced between mid-2014 and the end of last year, 25 have been shelved and eight have been canceled, according to a research paper published Wednesday by Beijing-based think tank International Institute of Green Finance. Only one project — a power station located in Kalapara, Bangladesh — has gone into operation, a sign that financing costs and risks related to coal projects have surged, while clean energy like solar power have became cheaper to produce, the paper said.

“The move away from Chinese-backed coal-fired power plants has accelerated rapidly over the past years,” said Christoph Nedopil, author of the paper and director of the institute’s Green Belt and Road Initiative Center. The changes can “accelerate a sustained green energy transition” in the countries involved in China’s Belt and Road Initiative, where most of the projects are located, he added.

The combined value of coal projects that were canceled, mothballed or shelved over the six years was more than $65 billion, according to the paper, surging to $25 billion last year from about $2 billion in 2015. Less than $1 billion worth of new coal-fired power projects went into construction in 2020, and no new plants with Chinese financing was announced last year. Countries that had most projects canceled are Zimbabwe and Russia.

[John Liu and Yujing Liu]

More: Half of China-backed overseas coal projects shelved

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