Development of Coal Power Generation Capacity

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China is still building new coal plants in 2022, even if far fewer than in the past. Most industrialized coastal provinces do not have any new coal capacity in their 14th Five Year Plans, (the period from 2021-2025) but another, inland provinces are still building more coal over this time, with some 33GW of capacity started in 2021 and another 8GW approved in the first quarter of 2022. Coal additions during this period must be limited to 150GW of installed capacity by 2025. It’s important to note this doesn’t mean 150GW will all be built, but that this is the most that can be built over the period. Before the start of the 14th FYP, the total installed coal plant capacity stood at 1074GW. After adding all 150GW of capacity allowed during the Five-Year Plan and accounting for around 50GW of plant retirements over that same period, China’s installed coal capacity could reach ~1175 GW by 2025. China has 135 GW of capacity currently under construction, 67% of the total 205 GW under construction worldwide. Half of their capacity under construction is expected to be operational by 2025 with the other half operating by 2027. Post 2027, China is expected to slow construction of new power plants after 2027 – as new nuclear and renewable facilities are commissioned.

China is by far the most active player in developing new coal generating capacity. As of July 2023, a total of 550 GW of coal generation capacity were in various stages of development. Notably, China plays a dominant role in these developments, contributing to a substantial 70% of all projects anticipated in the near future. After China, India represents 20%. So, China and India together present 90% of all coming projects in coal industry. No new coal projects are under consideration in North America or the EU for the first time since data collection began. The remaining proposed projects are in Turkey (3%), Indonesia (2%), and rest of the world.

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