Despite the spike in coal-fired generation, the pace of new coal capacity added to grids in developing nations is slowing, according to Climatescope. New construction of coal-fired power plants fell to the lowest level in a decade in 2018. After peaking at 84GW of new capacity added in 2015, coal project completions plummeted to 39GW in 2018.
Coal-fired power consumption spikes 8% in 2018: Survey Kolkata: Coal-fired power generated and consumed in developing countries jumped nearly 8% to 6.9 thousand terawatt-hours in 2018, up from 6.4 thousand in 2017, according to Climatescope, an annual survey of 104 emerging markets conducted by research firm BloombergNEF.
The approximately 500 terawatt-hours in new coal consumption is roughly equivalent to all the power consumed in Texas in a normal year. Across the 104 emerging markets surveyed in Climatescope, coal accounted for 47% of all generation.
Despite the spike in coal-fired generation, the pace of new coal capacity added to grids in developing nations is slowing, according to Climatescope. New construction of coal-fired power plants fell to the lowest level in a decade in 2018. After peaking at 84GW of new capacity added in 2015, coal project completions plummeted to 39GW in 2018. China accounted for approximately two-thirds of this decline.
Nevertheless, new investment in wind, solar, and other clean energy projects in developing nations dropped sharply in 2018, largely due to a slowdown in China. While the number of new clean power-generating plants completed stayed flat year-to-year.
The findings suggest that developing nations are moving toward cleaner power but not nearly fast enough to limit global CO2 emissions or the consequences of climate change, BNEF said in a statement. The bulk of the power to be produced from the overall fleet of power plants added in 2018 will come from fossil sources and emit CO2. This is due to wind and solar projects generating only when natural resources are available while oil, coal, and gas plants can potentially produce around the clock.
Excluding China, India and Brazil, clean energy investment jumped to $34 billion in 2018 from $30 billion in 2017. Most notably, Vietnam, South Africa, Mexico and Morocco led the rankings with a combined investment of $16 billion in 2018. Excluding China alone, new clean energy installations in emerging markets grew 21% to achieve a new record, with 36GW commissioned in 2018, up from 30GW in 2017. This is twice the clean energy capacity added in 2015 and three times the capacity installed in 2013.
This year’s Climatescope results suggest substantial additional work will be required to meet that commitment, despite some progress. Of the total $133 billion in asset finance that flowed to supporting development of new clean energy projects in the markets in developing nations, just $24.4 billion or 18% came from sources outside those countries. Of that total, the large majority came from private sources of capital, such as international project developers, commercial banks, and private equity funds. Inflows from development banks funded largely with OECD government funds did rise to a record $6.5 billion in 2018. There is little to suggest the overall goal of $100 billion per year in support for a variety of climate-related activities will be met anytime soon, however.