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Ken Feldman

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Re: Coal
« Reply #1550 on: October 01, 2019, 07:44:44 PM »
China to open $30bn coal railway by end of month

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Deemed the world’s longest heavy freight line, a $30bn railway built to haul coal from China’s northern mines to its eastern and central provinces is set to open by the end of this month.
The Haoji line will carry up to 200 million tonnes of coal a year from Haole Baoji in the Inner Mongolia autonomous region to the city of Ji'an in Jiangxi province, a distance of around 1,800km.

China Railways has been working on the line for the past seven years, and is now completing work on the last section, which intersects with the Shanghai–Kunming Railway in Jiangxi’s Xinyu City.

The line will fuel China’s network of coal-fired plants – officially capped at 1,100GW – as well as what one recent report described as a “tsunami” of plants under construction, which may add another 259GW of installed capacity.

Although China has suffered severe air pollution, and is working to develop renewable energy, some 60% of its power is still generated from coal.

Bloomberg reports that the aim of the line is to reorientate the country’s coal distribution infrastructure, which is predominantly moves coal from western mines to eastern ports, where it is moved by ship to plants in the south.

The new line is set to cut the 20 days required by the seaborne route to three.

http://www.globalconstructionreview.com/news/china-open-30bn-coal-railway-end-month/

Good planning in China as they're closing coal plants!  They might be able to get five to ten years out of it.  I hope it's useful for something other than coal.

https://oilprice.com/Latest-Energy-News/World-News/China-Looks-To-Shut-Several-Obsolete-Coal-Plants-By-End-2019.html

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China targets to have 8.7 GW of coal-fired capacity shut by the end of 2019 as the country continues its coal-to-natural gas switch to fight air pollution.
According to China’s energy regulator, National Energy Administration (NEA), all regions and provinces in the country are told to have their coal-fired power units of less than 50,000 kilowatts (kW) shut down, Reuters quoted the regulator as saying on Sunday.
China will also close obsolete coal-fired power capacity that has reached the end of its design life, as well as larger coal plants of up to 100,000 kW in areas covered by large power grids, according to the regulator.

The total 8.7 GW of coal-fired capacity targeted for elimination accounts for just below 1 percent of China’s overall capacity, according to Reuters.

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-china-carbon/china-co2-emissions-to-peak-in-2022-ahead-of-schedule-government-researcher-idUSKCN1VQ1K0

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But Jiang Kejun, research professor with the Energy Research Institute, a unit of the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), China’s top planning body, said he had “extreme confidence” in Beijing’s ability to bring emissions to a peak by 2022 on just a “business as usual” trajectory.
“China already has very strong policies and for me, just continuing to do that could be enough,” he told Reuters on the sidelines of the Fortune Sustainability Forum at the Fuxian Lake in the southwestern province of Yunnan.

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One major concern has been the rebound in coal consumption and the possible approval of new coal-fired power projects, with officials now debating whether more capacity is required to meet future electricity shortages, said Yang Fuqiang, senior adviser with the Natural Resources Defense Council, a U.S.-based environmental group.

An industry group has forecast China’s coal-fired capacity to peak at 1,300 gigawatts (GW), an increase of nearly 300 GW compared to the end of last year.
Eric Luo, chief executive of Chinese renewable energy manufacturer GCL, said it was unlikely another 300 GW would be necessary, adding that a 2022 peak in carbon emissions was plausible.
“After 2022, coal emissions should slow down, with the number of new coal plants falling,” he told Reuters. “Even if they have approved another 200GW... it doesn’t make sense to build so much.”

Ken Feldman

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Re: Coal
« Reply #1551 on: October 01, 2019, 07:53:52 PM »
It's amusing to see people still posting glowing projections for the growth of coal when it has become more expensive than wind and solar.  By that I mean that the operating costs for coal power plants are more expensive than simply shutting them down and building new wind and solar.

This article is from February 2019, well before the articles Rboyd linked to on the previous page.

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-column-russell-coal-india/coal-going-from-winner-to-loser-in-indias-energy-future-russell-idUSKCN1Q90OP

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NEW DELHI (Reuters) - India’s demand for electricity is expected to double in the next two decades, and coal has been long forecast to be the fuel of choice for power generation. But this may no longer be the case.

It’s not that India doesn’t have plentiful reserves of coal. It does, and it is the world’s second-largest producer and importer, following China.

It’s not even that India’s reserves are expensive to mine. They aren’t.

It’s not even that transporting coal from where it’s mined to where it’s needed is too difficult. Yes, it is an issue, but this challenge could be overcome with sufficient investment in rail and other infrastructure.

No, the main reason coal may battle to fuel India’s future energy needs is that it’s simply becoming too expensive relative to renewable energy alternatives such as wind and solar.

In recent months, power supply auctions have shown that renewables can be offered at less than 3 rupees (4 U.S. cents) per kilowatt hour, a tariff that coal-fired generators have difficulty matching.

There is also zero chance that new coal generators can produce electricity at rates competitive to renewables, given higher capital and operating costs.

gerontocrat

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Re: Coal
« Reply #1552 on: October 01, 2019, 09:15:21 PM »
It's amusing to see people still posting glowing projections for the growth of coal when it has become more expensive than wind and solar.  By that I mean that the operating costs for coal power plants are more expensive than simply shutting them down and building new wind and solar.

Not amusing, more a demonstration of inertia (e.g. Hinkley) and covert control by industrialists (e.g. of Block A in India).

So it is very unlikely (barring a new Global Financial crisis) that emissions from coal will peak in 2020.
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Ken Feldman

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Re: Coal
« Reply #1553 on: October 01, 2019, 09:45:19 PM »
It's amusing to see people still posting glowing projections for the growth of coal when it has become more expensive than wind and solar.  By that I mean that the operating costs for coal power plants are more expensive than simply shutting them down and building new wind and solar.

Not amusing, more a demonstration of inertia (e.g. Hinkley) and covert control by industrialists (e.g. of Block A in India).

So it is very unlikely (barring a new Global Financial crisis) that emissions from coal will peak in 2020.

As more renewables are deployed (since they are cheaper than coal), the coal facilities will be idled.  They'll eventually be shut down as keeping idle facilities maintained with no income is a losing proposition.  It's already happening in the US and Europe.  Take Spain for example:

https://www.greentechmedia.com/articles/read/enel-subsidiary-to-close-all-its-coal-capacity#gs.6v3yzq

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Enel Subsidiary to Close Coal Capacity in Spain
Coal power can no longer keep up in mainland Spain, Enel’s Endesa unit tells investors.
John Parnell September 30, 2019

Coal power is no longer competitive in mainland Spain, according to Enel subsidiary Endesa, as the company plans to shut down all of its coal-fired generation capacity on the Iberian peninsula.
Endesa operates 23 gigawatts of capacity in total in Spain and Portugal, including 7.5 gigawatts of “traditional thermal power."

In a statement to the Spanish stock exchange, Endesa was unequivocal on its view of coal’s near-term future, blaming market conditions and carbon pricing.

“This structural situation has determined that mainland coal-fired thermal power plants are not competitive, and therefore their operation in the electricity generation market is not foreseeable in the future.”

Endesa flagged a likely write-down of €1.3 billion ($1.4 billion) as a result of the shutdown, including decommissioning costs. It did not provide a timeline.

In the first half of 2019, the company generated half as much power from its coal fleet as it did in the same period last year, without closing any capacity. That alone suggests the writing was very much on the wall.


rboyd

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Re: Coal
« Reply #1554 on: October 01, 2019, 10:00:41 PM »
Its has been really amusing for years now reading the exponents of endless exponential growth in renewables that will quickly reduce fossil fuel (including coal) usage that contrast with the actual reality of societal complexity and power relations (Smil is very good on this), real cost accounting (as against meaningless and misleading operational cost comparisons) and the actual forecasts of the renewables industry associations.

The numbers will speak, and coal consumption will not meaningfully fall in the next 5-10 years on a  global basis - barring a major global recession.

I also keep my eyes on the East, as changes in the US and Europe are highly misleading from a global perspective.

Ken Feldman

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Re: Coal
« Reply #1555 on: October 08, 2019, 07:46:36 PM »
China's situation is pretty complicated.  On the one hand, the Government claims it is acting to clean up pollution and working to cap China's carbon emissions.  On the other, it keeps approving new coal-fired power plants, even though they will have to shut down before they reach the end of thier useful lives.

https://www.cnn.com/2019/09/28/asia/china-coal-plant-inner-mongolia-intl-hnk/index.html

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The huge Mengneng Xilin Thermal Power Plant's third unit, expected to deliver 700 megawatts of power to China's north, was ordered to cease construction in January 2017.
The order came from China's National Energy Administration as part of a government plan to eliminate millions of tons of "overcapacity" caused by a rush of approvals and the construction of "illegal" power plants. It is also part of President Xi Jinping's pledge to reduce the country's reliance on coal and reach peak carbon emissions by 2030.

But even as China reiterated its commitment to reducing emissions last week in New York, earlier this month at least three large, new coal-fired power stations appeared to be either operating or under construction in Inner Mongolia in northern China -- including Mengneng Xilin.

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In 2018, China sourced 59% of its energy from coal and 22% from gas, nuclear power and renewable energy.

By next year, it has pledged to reduce its reliance on coal to 58%, and to continue ramping up its renewable energy to a target of 20% by 2030. In 2017, China accounted for almost half of all investment in renewable energy worldwide.

"I think on one hand, China has already become the largest manufacturer developer and investor when it comes to some of the most advanced renewable technologies," Greenpeace's Li said.
"But on the other hand... China is pumping money into coal, both at home but also overseas."

According to Climate Action Tracker, China's carbon emissions rose an estimated 2.3% in 2018, the second consecutive year of growth after emissions appeared to stall between 2014 and 2016.

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The quiet approvals of these coal power plants doesn't just make life harder for the Inner Mongolian herders or local officials struggling to meet their pollution goals, it could completely undermine global efforts to stop climate change.

Analysis by climate change activist group CoalSwarm, released in 2018, found that if China finished construction on all the new planned coal power plants while still operating their older stations, it would make it very difficult for the international community to avoid rapid temperature increases.

"Complying with the Paris agreement requires rapid retirement of the current coal fleet and no additional capacity additions," the analysis said.

Not only is China's funding of coal power stations domestically a problem, but a 2019 report by the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis found that Chinese companies were helping or promising to finance at least one in four newly-constructed polluting plants globally.

Ken Feldman

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Re: Coal
« Reply #1556 on: October 09, 2019, 12:09:10 AM »
Japan is facing billions of dollars in stranded coal assets as renewables become cheaper than coal.

https://e360.yale.edu/digest/as-solar-and-wind-become-cheaper-japan-faces-billions-in-stranded-coal-assets

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As Solar and Wind Become Cheaper, Japan Faces Billions in Stranded Coal Assets
The decreasing costs of solar and wind energy could generate $71 billion in stranded coal assets in Japan by 2025, according to a new report from the Carbon Tracker Initiative, a financial think tank, and the University of Tokyo. Offshore wind power will be cheaper than coal in Japan by 2022, new solar cheaper by 2023, and onshore wind less expensive by 2025.

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“Building coal power today equals high-cost power and fiscal liabilities tomorrow,” the report says. “Japan’s planned and operating coal capacity is partially protected by regulations that give coal generators an unfair advantage in the marketplace.”

Sigmetnow

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Re: Coal
« Reply #1557 on: October 09, 2019, 03:30:08 AM »
Court: Trump's EPA Can’t Erase Interstate Smog Rules
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A federal appeals court panel on Tuesday struck down a 2018 Trump administration rule that had relieved states of their obligation to curb air pollution that causes smog in downwind states hundreds of miles away.

The ruling requires the Environmental Protection Agency to draw up a new plan for addressing the nation's long-standing problems with ground-level ozone, or smog, to meet the requirements of the Clean Air Act. It's a task that the Trump administration has made far more difficult by rolling back the restrictions on coal power plant pollution in the Clean Power Plan, the Obama administration's signature policy on climate change.

The court's decision extends the Trump administration's losing record in defending its rollbacks of environmental regulations—this time, with the ruling coming from one of the president's own judicial picks. ...
https://insideclimatenews.org/news/02102019/cross-border-smog-ruling-coal-power-trump-obama-clean-air-act
People who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it.

rboyd

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Re: Coal
« Reply #1558 on: October 10, 2019, 01:21:42 AM »
‘Coal is still king’ in Southeast Asia even as countries work toward cleaner energy

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KEY POINTS
Not only will coal continue to be the dominant fuel source in power generation in Southeast Asia, its use will grow and peak in 2027 before slowing, according to a Wood Mackenzie study.
The Indonesian government has targeted generating 23% of electricity from renewable sources by 2025 — almost double the 12% now, but it will be “difficult to achieve because capacity expansion plans are still dominated by coal,” Moody’s analysts say.
Global coal demand grew for a second straight year to reach 0.7% in 2018, International Energy Agency data shows.

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“The narrative surrounding coal has been pessimistic across the world. This will result in the gradual slowdown of new coal-fired capacity in Southeast Asia,” said Jacqueline Tao, research associate at Wood Mackenzie, a commodity consultancy.

“However, the reality of rising power demand and affordability issues in the region mean that we will only start to see coal’s declining power post-2030,” Tao said on Sept. 25 when the consultancy released a new report.

“Coal is still king in Southeast Asia’s power market,” according to Wood Mackenzie.

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The demand surge is primarily driven by Indonesia and Vietnam, accounting for almost 60% of Southeast Asian power demand by 2040, said Tao.

https://www.cnbc.com/2019/10/01/coal-is-still-king-in-southeast-asia-despite-clean-energy-efforts.html

sidd

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Re: Coal
« Reply #1559 on: October 10, 2019, 05:49:59 AM »
Follow the money. There are some powerful interests like the Adanis who are fighting tooth and nail to survive. China screwed them over, India didn't bail em out, now they are concentrating on Indonesia and wherever else they can lock in contracts. But i doubt they will survive, as i have said before.

sidd

 

Ken Feldman

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Re: Coal
« Reply #1560 on: October 10, 2019, 05:53:16 PM »
Chile is replacing its coal plants with renewables.

http://ieefa.org/engie-to-replace-its-coal-plants-in-chile-with-1000mw-of-renewable-energy/

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Engie Energia Chile SA launched on Friday the construction phase of its investment plan to install 1,000 MW of renewables, which starts with three projects in the Chilean region of Antofagasta.

Two of the three are already in construction, the Chilean energy company said. These are the 150-MW Calama wind farm and the 100-MWp Capricornio solar park, both slated to begin operations throughout 2021.

Construction of the third project, the 120-MWp Tamaya solar park, is expected to commence in the first quarter of 2020. Engie Chile estimates that the initial investment in the three schemes will reach around USD 300 million (EUR 273.4m).

Ken Feldman

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Re: Coal
« Reply #1561 on: October 10, 2019, 06:34:46 PM »
China's largest energy companies are taking a huge financial risk with coal.

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-10-06/china-s-coal-power-giants-seen-charging-ahead-into-climate-risks

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China's Coal Power Giants Seen Charging Ahead Into Climate Risks
By Jasmine Ng
October 6, 2019, 9:01 AM PDT

China’s top six listed coal-power generators are failing to respond to climate change, lagging international peers and leaving them misaligned with Beijing’s broader environmental policies, according to a sustainability and governance risk consultant.

That’s keeping shareholders without adequate information on how the firms are addressing climate change or adjusting their businesses to adapt, Singapore-based Asia Research & Engagement said in a report Monday. The companies, with a combined market capitalization of almost $91 billion at the mid-year, account for about a fifth of China’s power and emitted nearly 3% of the world’s carbon dioxide in 2017, according to ARE.

“China’s large listed power companies are struggling to take meaningful steps on the transition to cleaner energy,” ARE said in the report. “Foreign investors find it harder to justify holding shares.”

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“International investors are under pressure to reduce exposure to coal,” ARE said in the report. “Without a transition pathway to generating portfolios with cleaner characteristics the companies will face increasing challenges in marketing their shares internationally.”

Ken Feldman

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Re: Coal
« Reply #1562 on: October 10, 2019, 06:39:01 PM »
Poland is importing record amounts of electricity because it costs less than the domestically produced coal power.

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-poland-energy-imports/polands-cleaner-power-imports-pile-pressure-on-coal-energy-idUSKBN1WP256

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WARSAW (Reuters) - Poland is on track to import a record amount of electricity this year as power traders buy cheaper and cleaner electricity from neighboring countries, reducing demand for the mostly coal-fired energy produced by state-run utilities.

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The majority of Poland’s electricity imports this year came from Sweden and Germany, where average wholesale prices in the first half of the year were 175 zlotys ($44.71) and 165 zlotys per MWh respectively compared to 229 zlotys in Poland.

Exports amounted to 2.9 TWh and 4.2 TWh in 2018 and 2017 respectively. Until 2014, Poland exported more energy than it imported.

Analysts said that while Poland continues to produce most of its electricity from coal, prices will be higher than in neighboring countries, which use more green energy sources.

Ken Feldman

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Re: Coal
« Reply #1563 on: October 10, 2019, 11:55:34 PM »
South Africa's coal exporting companies are facing increased competition as global demand for coal declines.

https://www.dailymaverick.co.za/article/2019-09-17-sa-coal-is-burning-out-quicker-than-expected/

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A report on the export outlook for South African coal published today by the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA), a respected international energy think-tank, warns that new energy technologies will replace coal-fired power faster than most predict.

Eskom and Sasol, which together take nearly two thirds of the 250 million tonnes of coal produced by South African mines each year, are planning to curb their use of the fossil fuel.

And there are signs that major coal importers like India, Pakistan and South Korea – which together take more than half of South Africa’s coal exports – are either transitioning away from coal or have limited growth potential. As the overall market shrinks, South Africa is expected to face increased competition from other coal exporters such as Indonesia, Australia and Russia.

Ken Feldman

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Re: Coal
« Reply #1564 on: October 11, 2019, 12:16:13 AM »
‘Coal is still king’ in Southeast Asia even as countries work toward cleaner energy


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The demand surge is primarily driven by Indonesia and Vietnam, accounting for almost 60% of Southeast Asian power demand by 2040, said Tao.


LOL.  Even in Southeast Asia, renewables beat coal on price.

https://thediplomat.com/2019/10/can-southeast-asia-ditch-coal/

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The world’s dirtiest fossil fuel is in decline from the United States to western Europe. But in Southeast Asia coal has found one of its final frontiers: last year it was the only region where coal’s share of power generation grew. Yet the growing urgency of the climate crisis and increasingly affordable renewable power could help catalyze a regional shift away from the fuel towards cleaner energy.

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But change might be afoot. “It’s an absolute pivot point for renewables in Southeast Asia,” Tim Buckley, director of energy finance studies at the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis, told The Diplomat. While the region “has been a laggard” on renewable energy he points to game-changing recent developments. “The finances are shifting to green globally. Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia and Thailand will all pivot over the next two years.” Vietnam, for instance, has seen a surge in solar power development in the last year alone.

“No-one forecast Vietnam can do that. That’s how quickly you can pivot markets,” said Buckley. Earlier this month an auction for a solar power project in Cambodia saw the lowest power purchase tariff for solar so far in Southeast Asia. The Asian Development Bank, which supports the scheme, described it as “a new era for renewable energy development in Cambodia and the region”.

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“In many ways Southeast Asia reminds me of where India was five years ago,” he added. “They built a significant number of coal plants, but now they’ve got stranded assets. It’s a big problem. Southeast Asia has the opportunity to avoid that.”

Ken Feldman

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Re: Coal
« Reply #1565 on: October 11, 2019, 12:46:09 AM »
Those of you interested in the East may want to look into the stranded assets in India and Bangladesh.

https://www.chinadialogue.net/article/show/single/en/11512-Bangladesh-may-suspend-new-power-plant-approvals

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In May this year the Bangladesh Power Development Board halted approvals for new power plants because those already being constructed will be able to meet demand until 2030. There are differing views on whether Bangladesh is facing a power glut, but the discussion highlights the risks faced by Chinese investors in overseas power projects.

Buoyant electricity demand has made South and Southeast Asia key markets for energy investments by Chinese firms – particularly in coal power. But after the rapid expansion of power plant construction, some countries are facing power surpluses, increasing market and policy uncertainties, or seeing the profitability of coal-fired power fall and the risk of stranded assets rise. Chinese firms and financial institutions investing in overseas coal power projects should therefore take a long-term view of the investment environment and proceed with caution.

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The following three factors explain how Bangladesh has gone from suffering power shortages to risking a surplus:

1. Estimates of electricity demand were based on GDP targets, not actual figures

Bangladesh’s 2016 plan for power sector development used government-set GDP growth targets to estimate future demand. So a target of 7.4% annual GDP growth from 2016 to 2020, combined with longer-term development plans, resulted in estimated 2030 demand of 40,000 MW. This approach did not consider cyclical fluctuation (such as seasonal and daily changes) and ongoing falls in the energy-intensity of the Bangladeshi economy. The chair of Bangladeshi consulting firm Power Cell has suggested the industry considers realistic electricity demand and improves its methodologies.

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3. Existing capacity is underused

Oil-fired power makes up the bulk of generation capacity added over the past decade, with 80% of this being small 50-150 MW power plants. These smaller plants are inefficient and expensive. And with oil becoming more expensive and in short supply, some have not been running at full capacity, highlighting the price and supply risks faced by fossil fuel power generation.

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Bangladesh is no isolated case. Initial estimates by Greenpeace, based on power and energy development plans, see a number of South and Southeast Asian nations at risk of power surpluses.

The Indonesian national power company, PLN, predicts annual growth in demand for electricity of 8.3% between 2017 and 2026, and has planned to expand capacity accordingly. But in reality, demand for electricity grew by only 3.1% in 2017. If PLN pushes ahead with its plans, the Java-Bali region will have a generation capacity 41% higher than peak demand, far higher than the Chinese industry standard of 20% to 30%. As a result, PLN reduced predicted annual growth for 2018-2027 to 6.9% and cancelled or delayed some projects, to reduce the risk of power surpluses.

Similar trends can be seen in Vietnam and Pakistan. Utilisation of coal power capacity in Vietnam is already at a historic low. Pakistan still suffers from power shortages, but IRENA predicts a reserve margin of 37% by 2020. The Pakistani government has already cancelled some unneeded coal power projects, including a Chinese one.

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Signs of surpluses are appearing in multiple energy markets around the world. Chinese companies and financial institutions can avoid potential losses by recognising that risk and adjusting investment plans accordingly.

Greenpeace figures show that China was involved in 18.4 GW of coal-fired power projects in Bangladesh as of May 2019 – accounting for 78% of the country’s expected total coal-fired power capacity in 2022.

China is making huge investments in coal-fired power in Bangladesh, mostly in the form of equity investments. In the past, Chinese firms tended to sign Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC) deals, which offered fixed returns if the plant was built and running on schedule. Equity investments go deeper, giving the Chinese firm a say in the running of the plant and a stake in long-term profits – but also mean longer-term risks. According to Greenpeace’s figures, 98% of Chinese coal-power projects in Bangladesh involve equity investments, and these are all already under construction, or in planning. Those in planning account for 76% of all equity investments. Information in the public domain does not allow for an estimate of how many of these Chinese-invested projects are at risk from the possible halting of approvals, but the risks to power investors of future surpluses in Bangladesh should not be underestimated.

TerryM

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Re: Coal
« Reply #1566 on: October 11, 2019, 12:47:55 AM »
I've long believed that those mining and transporting coal are as guilty as those that burn it. If there were real teeth in environmental law, coal dealers would be dealt with as harshly as drug dealers, and coal smuggling would carry a heavy criminal penalty.


Otherwise we're just playing games.
Terry