Most of the new coal-fired power stations in Asia will be uneconomic ©  AerialPerspective Images/Getty Images
Most of the new coal-fired power stations in Asia will be uneconomic © AerialPerspective Images/Getty Images

Five Asian countries urged to ditch coal

30 June 2021

Five Asian countries are building 80% of the world’s planned new coal-fired plants, putting Paris climate goals at risk, a report has found.

The report Do Not Revive Coal from think tank Carbon Tracker said China, India, Indonesia, Japan and Vietnam planned to build more than 600 new units with a combined capacity of over 300 gigawatts (GW).

China and India alone are accounting for nearly 250GW of this total. The five countries are also currently hosting nearly three quarters of current global coal-generating capacity, said the report.

This was despite the availability of renewable alternatives and calls from UN secretary-general Antonio Guterres for all new coal plants to be cancelled.

Guterres has said phasing out coal as a fuel for generating electricity was the “single most important step” that could be taken to tackle the climate crisis. 

Most (92%) of the coal-fired power stations under construction in Asia will turn out to be uneconomic and could lead to the waste of up to $150bn, the report warned.

The report said around 27% of existing capacity is already unprofitable and another 30% is close to breakeven – meaning profits at the stations are likely to be minimal.

And it claimed around 80% of the global coal fleet could be replaced with renewables – by 2024 new renewables will be cheaper than coal in every major region.

Catharina Hillenbrand Von Der Neyen, head of power & utilities at Carbon Tracker, said: “These last bastions of coal power are swimming against the tide, when renewables offer a cheaper solution that supports global climate targets.

“Investors should steer clear of new coal projects, many of which are likely to generate negative returns from the outset.”

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