Global coal power plant development declined for the fourth year running in 2019, while a total of 13 gigawatts (GW) of capacity construction have been delayed so far this year due to the coronavirus, research by environmental organizations shows.
The annual survey of the global coal plant pipeline by Global Energy Monitor, Greenpeace International, the Sierra Club and the Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air showed a 16% drop last year in capacity under construction and development.
This year, 15 plants with a total capacity of 13 GW have so far been delayed by workforce or supply chain issues related to the coronavirus outbreak.
Even with the overall fall in coal plant development in 2019, the world is not on track for the steep reductions in coal power necessary to meet goals to limit global warming, the report said.
Scientists have said coal use needs to fall 80% by 2030 to keep global warming below 1.5 degrees Celsius.
Despite the decline in coal plant development, the coal fleet grew in 2019 by a greater amount than in 2018.
Globally, the amount of power generated from coal in 2019 declined by 3% compared with 2018, with coal plants now operating at an average 51% of their available operating hours, which is a record low.
New coal plant developers face increasingly difficult conditions as restriction on investment have come from banks and insurers, as well as government commitments to phase out coal.
(Writing by Wenxin Wu Editing by Becky Du)
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