Thursday, March 19, 2015

The Beginning of the End for Coal

New research reveals that the coal boom is over and we are nearing the end of coal's power sector dominance. Coal was once the power source of the world. It fueled the industrial revolution, powered our trains and warmed our homes. In the process it made us sick and brought life forms on our planet to the brink of extinction. Coal contributes to the deaths of almost one million people per year and a typical coal plant adds 4.4 million metric tons of CO2 annually.

A March 2015 report indicates that we are in the process of significantly reducing our reliance on coal.
The report from CoalSwarm and the Sierra Club indicates that coal is in decline.

Globally there has been a 23 percent reduction in proposed new coal fired generating capacity. According to the report the beginning of the end of the coal boom began some time between 2010 and 2012. For every coal plant that came online, plans for two other plants were put on hold or scrapped. The failure-to-completion rate is as high as 4 to 1 in many places around the world.

The report predicts that coal fired energy will continue to decline at an accelerated rate in both the US and Europe.

"From 2003 to 2014, the amount of coal-fired generating capacity retired in the US and the EU exceeded new capacity by 22 percent. With most new capacity plans halted and large amounts of capacity slated for retirement, reductions in coal capacity are expected to accelerate," the report said.

Even in places like India and China coal fired energy generation is drying up. In India coal financing is drying up and six plants have been canceled for every one built. China's coal plants averaged just 54 percent of total capacity in 2014. Planned coal plants were reduced by half between 2006 and 2014.

However even more coal plants will need to be canceled and retired in China if the country is to succeed in reducing the serious problem of air pollution and the tackling the even bigger problem of climate change causing emissions.

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