China Generated More Than Half Of World's Coal Power In 2020: Report

China generated 53% of the world's total coal-fired power during 2020, the only G20 nation to see a major increase in its coal-fired generation.

The Chinese Problem: Despite China's installation of 71.7 gigawatts (GW) of wind power and 48.2 GW of solar energy last year, coupled with the Chinese government's pledge to reduce its coal dependency, the country nonetheless saw its coal-fired generation increase by 77 terawatt-hours (TWh) from its 2015 level of 44%, according to a report from the London-based energy and climate research organization Ember.

A separate report from the environmental group Greenpeace found China opening 38.4 GW in new coal-fired power installations in 2020 while the government approved 46.1 GW of new coal-fired projects.

"The efforts of central government to transition to renewables and a more market-oriented operation of the power system should mean that investment is driven by need and profitability," said Lauri Myllyvirta, lead analyst at Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air and author of the Greenpeace report.

"However, this theory is hitting up against political reality as local governments' move to stimulate local GDP and create demand for locally mined coal by approving new coal plants."

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U.S. Coal Data: The Ember report also noted the four largest coal-generating countries after China saw their respective coal power shrink in 2020: Japan (-1%), India (-5%), South Korea (-13%) and the U.S. (-20%).

However, U.S. coal-powered activity is not vanishing. New coal data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) found the nation's power generation from coal reached a five-month high in January with 81.81 TWh, up 3.9% from December and up 25.7% one year earlier. January marked the seventh increase in the last nine months for coal generation, although it was also the second-lowest total for a January in 46 years.

The EIA also noted coal accounted for 19.3% of the nation's energy sourcing, compared to natural gas (40.3%), renewables (19.8%) and nuclear power (19.7%).

Coal Down Under: Australia's coal sector was also in the news last week with a report that Deutsche Bank AG DB and Pacific Investment Management Co. (PIMCO) chose not to participate in the bond offerings of Australia's Adani Ports & Special Economic Zone Ltd. because of its links to a local coal project.

According to a Bloomberg report citing anonymous sources, the companies abstained due to environmental concerns. However, the bond offering achieved an over-subscription ratio of 4.2 times.

Related Link: US Energy Consumption From Renewables Poised To Outpace Coal

(Photo by Nedu503 / Pixabay)

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