Coal plant development across the world drops for second consecutive year
A new report released by Greenpeace, the Sierra Club, and CoalSwarm suggests that coal-powered plants are declining for the second consecutive year.
The Boom and Bust 2018: tracking the Global Coal Plant Pipeline report notes that China’s restrictions on new coal projects is thought to have had a large strain on the industry, as well as India’s private capital retreating from financing.
The findings indicated that since last year there has been a 28% decline in the number of completed coal plants, or a 41% decline over the past two years.
In terms of construction starts, the industry has been subject to a 29% year-on-year drop, which totals 73% over the two years.
There has been a 22% fall in the permitting and planning of coal-powered plants, or 59% fall since 2016.
“Falling coal-fired power plant construction and accelerating retirements are excellent news for public health – pollution from coal-fired power plants is responsible for hundreds of thousands of premature deaths every year globally,” stated Lauri Myllyvirta, Senior Global Campaigner at Greenpeace.
“Despite slowdown in construction, overcapacity situation continued to worsen especially in China, India and Indonesia, as new plants continue to come online.”
97GW of coal plant capacity has been retired over the previous three years, with the US retiring 45GW, China 16GW, and the UK 8GW.
“From a climate and health perspective, the trend toward a declining coal power fleet is encouraging, but not happening fast enough,” remarked Ted Nace, Director of CoalSwarm.
“Fortunately, mass production is cutting solar and wind costs much faster than expected, and both financial markets and power planners worldwide are taking notice.”
“It's no surprise that the use of coal is declining worldwide," added Neha Mathew-Shah, Campaign Representative for the Sierra Club’s International Climate and Energy Campaign.
“This has been an accelerating trend over the past few years, and as the cost of clean energy solutions like wind and solar continue to outpace outdated fossil fuels, it's only a matter of time before coal is a thing of the past.”
Drax advances biomass strategy with Pinnacle acquisition
The Group’s enlarged supply chain will have access to 4.9 million tonnes of operational capacity from 2022. Of this total, 2.9 million tonnes are available for Drax’s self-supply requirements in 2022, which will rise to 3.4 million tonnes in 2027.
The £424 million acquisition of the Canadian biomass pellet producer supports Drax' ambition to be carbon negative by 2030, using bioenergy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS) and will make a "significant contribution" in the UK cutting emissions by 78% by 2035 (click here).
This summer Drax will undertake maintenance on its CfD(2) biomass unit, including a high-pressure turbine upgrade to reduce maintenance costs and improve thermal efficiency, contributing to lower generation costs for Drax Power Station.
In March, Drax secured Capacity Market agreements for its hydro and pumped storage assets worth around £10 million for delivery October 2024-September 2025.
The limitations on BECCS are not technology but supply, with every gigatonne of CO2 stored per year requiring approximately 30-40 million hectares of BECCS feedstock, according to the Global CCS Institute. Nonetheless, BECCS should be seen as an essential complement to the required, wide-scale deployment of CCS to meet climate change targets, it concludes.