Coal Two–Is Anyone Listening?

This matter of coal( last post) and how many people I talk to think that it is just somehow vanished even in a Province that is reopening coal mines is quite a point of view to hold . It takes a lot of selected reading and often a suspension of facts.

As some of you know I rely for many of my blog submisissions on other websites that do research in various fields especially in energy and related fields . One of those websites is one in the UK at Oxford University, the Oxford Institute for Energy Studies. A recent study by that Institute  on the role of coal in south east Asia is a case in point. Here is an excerpt from the executive Summary of that report:

‘Driven by rapidly increasing electricity demand, Southeast Asia coal demand has surged since 2010. The availability of coal in the region, and its lower cost than competing fuels, has made coal the preferred option to fuel rising power demand. The region added 25 GW of coal-based capacity in the past five years, accounting for 42 per cent of total additional generation capacity. Even the gas-producing countries in the region have introduced more coal in their electricity mix as gas shortages pushed them to diversify their mix.

However, this shift compromises the national commitments taken by Southeast Asian governments to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. In the wake of the Paris Agreement, national governments across the region have started to reassess their power development plans, introducing more renewable energy sources, promoting energy efficiency measures, and reducing the contribution of coal in the electricity mix. This reassessment, however, does not constitute a shift away from coal. Despite the scale back, coal still dominates the targeted additional capacity, followed by natural gas, hydropower, and other renewables: there are 29 GW of coal-based capacity under construction in the region, most of them to be completed by 2020.

In addition, there is a huge number of permitted and announced coal-fired power plants in the pipeline, which means that the shift towards coal may continue well after 2020.’

The interesting numbers here are 25GW and 29GW. 

One gigawatt equals 1000 mega watts of electricity.

So the extra coal fired electricity just completed in south east Asia equals 25,000 mega watts .

The extra coal fired electricity to come in that region is  29,000 megawatts. 

The two largest under construction Hydro plants in Canada right now are Muskcrat Falls  in Labrador and Site C in British Columbia. Both of these taken together equal just over 1000 mega  watts – 1400 megawatts -1.4 gigawatts. 

Some of the largest single natural gas turbines operating today equal 500 mega watts. 

So you begin to see just how large the extra coal fired electrical capacity is in other parts of the world . And this analysis does not include the two most populous countries on the planet , China and India.

So the next time someone tells you that coal is over, finished , a done commodity—–you now have some facts to dispel such ‘ narrow notions.’

South East Asia in this analysis included the countries of Indonesia, Thailand, Cambodia, Myanmar, Singapore, Brunei , Vietnam , Philippines, Laos,  and Malaysia.

The author of the study is Sylvie  Cornot-Gandolphr, a research fellow with Oxford and other European energy organizations.




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