IPP | Staff Reporter, Singapore

Asian coal-fired power plants are still uncontrollably growing: report

And clean coal tech's effectivity will lag big time.

Rhetoric surrounding the development and deployment of 'clean coal' technology in Asia has increased, as the region continues to ramp-up coal-fired power capacity, amid growing international concern about rising carbon emissions. 

Despite the growing optimism, BMI said in its report that the implementation of 'clean coal' technology will register only limited progress over the next decade, due to high costs and limited commercial viability.

There is increasing pressure on the Asia region to curb its heavy reliance on coal consumption in the power sector - particularly in the aftermath of the UN Climate Change Conference 2015 agreement (UN COP21).

Here's more from BMI:

Although we have seen some strong commitment to coal reduction from China, countries across the region continue to view coal as a fundamental fuel for the power sector, given its widespread availability and affordability.

BMI forecasts the benchmark for Asian prices to trade in the USD40-60/tonne range out to 2020, compared to USD140/tonne in 2011 and USD78.0/tonne over 2012-2015; as such, we expect coal to maintain its dominance in Asia's power mix over the coming decade, accounting for 51% of the total in 2025.

In line with this forecast, countries in the region continue to ramp-up their domestic coal-fired power capacity. Other than the two largest coal power markets in Asia (China and India), Vietnam, Pakistan, Indonesia, Philippines and South Korea are all notable examples of countries that are building up extensive coal capacity, with all having a coal-fired power project pipeline of more than 9 gigawatts (GW) according to our Key Projects Database (KPD).

In light of these dynamics and the growing international pressure to reduce carbon emissions, we have seen an uptick in rhetoric surrounding the development and deployment of 'clean coal' technology in Asia over the last year, including subcritical/ultra-supercritical plants, coal gasification and carbon capture, utilisation, and storage (CCUS) technology. For example, in August 2015, an agreement between the US Department of Energy (DOE) and China's National Energy Administration (NEA) to jointly develop 'clean coal' technologies for commercial use was announced.

Despite the growing rhetoric, we believe that the implementation of 'clean coal' technology will register only limited progress over the next decade, due to its high costs and limited commercial viability at present.

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