Friday, November 30, 2012

World Resources Institute Warning About New Coal Plants

Proposed coal projects around the world will quadruple the current capacity of all coal-fired plants in the US. The World Resources Institute  (WRI) released a report in November titled, Global Coal Risk Assessment. The report found that there are 1,199 new coal power plants in the works, totaling more than 1.4 million megawatts of capacity worldwide.

To put this in perspective, 1.4 million megawatts is four times the capacity of all the coal-fired power plants in the US. The world's leading coal powered nations going forward are China, Germany and India, all of which are increasingly active in transnational coal-fired project development.

China is the world largest coal consumer and they are expected to increase their usage until 2020, when demand is finally expected to level off. India continues to rely on coal and by 2025 that country is expected to overtake the U.S. as the number two consumer of coal. Coal demand has shifted from the Atlantic market to the Pacific market.

Although coal projects are planned in 59 countries, seventy-six percent of the coal plants are proposed for India and China. The US ranks seventh in coal power plant development.

Although there have been significant increases in natural gas extraction, coal continues to be used in the US and around the world. According to the International Energy Agency (IEA) estimates, the global coal trade rose by 13.4 percent in 2010, reaching 1,083 million tonnes.

According to the IEA, coal supplied nearly half of the increase in global energy consumption over the last decade, growing faster than renewables. And the agency predicts that coal will continue its rise in the decades ahead.

To view the locations of proposed coal-fired power plants by country in an interactive map click here.

© 2012, Richard Matthews. All rights reserved.

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