August 2, 2020 Read More →

More coal generators closed than were commissioned during first half of 2020

The Guardian:

The size of the global coal power fleet fell for the first time on record over the first six months of the year, with more generation capacity shutting than starting operation.

Global Energy Monitor, a US research and advocacy group that tracks fossil fuel development, found the closure of coal generators closing, mostly across Europe and in the US, outstripped stations being commissioned, largely in Asia.

China, the world’s biggest annual greenhouse gas emitter, continues to dominate coal power development, having built nearly two-thirds of the world’s operating plants and being home to almost 90% of generators under construction. It is home to half the world’s operating coal-fired electricity capacity.

Tim Buckley, from the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis, said Covid-19 was having a significant impact not just on plant construction, but on forecast future energy demand. It would make building coal power in countries such as India even harder to justify, and was likely to hasten a shift from the fossil fuel.

Buckley said Australia’s $20bn thermal coal export industry, and politicians such as the Coalition’s Matthew Canavan and Labor’s Joel Fitzgibbon, who have argued it could thrive, should be preparing for an inevitable decline from a peak in global coal generation in 2018.

“No one is saying it is going to happen in the next five years, but the trajectory is clear,” he said. “How can you compete with [solar and wind] that has zero marginal cost of supply? They are going to lose. I have zero doubt about it.”

[Adam Morton]

More: More coal power generation closed than opened around the world this year, research finds

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