In 2023, worldwide coal power capacity increased for the first time since 2019, despite urgent requests for a 6% annual closure rate to avoid a climate calamity. According to a Global Energy Monitor analysis, coal power capacity increased by 2% due to new plants in China and fewer closures in Europe and the United States.

According to the research, around 69.5 gigawatts (GW) of new coal plant capacity came online last year, with China accounting for two-thirds of the total.

New plants were also commissioned in Indonesia, India, Vietnam, Japan, Bangladesh, Pakistan, South Korea, Greece, and Zimbabwe. In contrast, the slowdown in coal plant retirements in the United States and Europe resulted in the shutdown of more than 21 GW. This led to a net annual rise of roughly 48.5 GW, the biggest since 2016.

The report stressed the importance of accelerating coal plant closures and urged China to impose tougher limitations on capacity increase. Flora Champenois, Coal Program Director at Global Energy Monitor, stated that coal’s fortunes this year are an outlier, as all indications lead to a reversal of this accelerated expansion.

“But countries with coal plants to retire must do so sooner, and countries with plans for new coal plants must ensure that they are never built.

Otherwise, we can forget about fulfilling our Paris Agreement targets and reaping the benefits of a rapid transition to renewable energy,” Champenois stated.

According to Danielle Koh, Policy Analyst at Reclaim Finance, GEM’s analysis clearly illustrates that global coal capacity outside of China is trending in the correct direction in terms of climate. However, we need to speed up the phaseout.

According to the report, the G7 main industrial countries now account for 15% (310 GW) of global coal capacity, down from 23% (443 GW) in 2015.

With the completion of new units in Japan in 2023, the G7 no longer has any coal projects under construction, but it does have one proposal in Japan and two in the United States. The Group of Twenty (G20) accounts for 92% of the world’s operating coal capacity (1,968 GW) and 88% of the pre-construction capacity (336 GW).

Brazil, the current G20 chair, has seen its overall pre-construction capacity decline, although the country still has two projects left, the last of which is in Latin America.

China and the eleven countries that follow account for 95% of the world’s pre-construction capacity. The remaining 5% is split among 21 countries, eleven of which have only one project and are on the verge of meeting the “no new coal” target.

In 2023, the decline in proposed coal outside of China was offset by 20.9 GW of wholly new proposals, led by India (11.4 GW), Kazakhstan (4.6 GW), and Indonesia (2.5 GW), as well as 4.1 GW of previously shelved or canceled capacity that was evaluated again.

Gabriel Eleojo Umoru
Gabriel Eleojo Umoru
I'm Gabriel Eleojo Umoru, a graduate of Mass Communication from Prince Abubakar Audu University (formerly Kogi State University Anyigba, Kogi State). My hobbies include writing, surfing the internet and listening to music. I'm into voice editing and project management. I also help people out in their research projects.

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