Overview of coal power generation in Asia Pacific countries
Coal is a crucial fuel for the generation of electricity and it is reported that over 40% of electricity generated worldwide in 2013 was fueled by coal. Mongolia and South Africa used coal to generate more than 90% of each country’s total electricity in 2013. Coal is also a major source in some Asia Pacific countries; China, Australia, and India generated more than half of their electricity by coal. In Indonesia and Japan, coal is used to generate 48% and 21% of electricity respectively.
Recent development of coal power plants in Asia Pacific region
A recent report, which analyzed more than 1,800 live projects in 15 Asia Pacific countries, released by Timetric’s Construction Intelligence Center (CIC) shows that coal power plants will maintain a leading role in the Asia Pacific region’s power sector over the coming 10 years. The value of these projects totals US$1,855 billion. Of this amount, US$792 billion (42.7%) will be invested into coal power projects, more than twice the value of nuclear power projects. It is forecasted that the cumulative installed capacity of coal power will be over 1,959 GW by 2025. The report also reveals that developed countries, such as Japan, Australia and New Zealand do not invest greatly in coal power projects for environmental reasons.
State policy may affect the demand on coal for power generation
Although it is forecasted that coal power will continue to be the ruling power type in the coming decade, state policy in some countries, such as China and Japan, will slow down the growth of coal demand for power generation.
In accordance with the state policy of China on emissions reduction, the installation of new coal-fired power capacity should decrease while the installation of clean power capacity should increase. The National Energy Agency (NEA) predicted that the proportion of coal-fired power will decrease to 70% by 2020 and fall below 50% by 2050. This will inevitably suppress the growth of coal demand. The effects of this plan to decrease the installation rate of coal power has already been observed in the past several years. In 2011, the newly installed coal-fired power capacity was 58,370 megawatts, representing 61.9% of new installation for that year. However, the proportion diminished in the subsequent two years to 57.6% and 38.8% respectively.
According to the Agency of Natural Resources and Energy of Japan, the Government wants to diversify its fuel sources. Actions to achieve this goal include maximizing the introduction of renewable energy, resuming nuclear power generation, as long as safety is assured, introducing high-efficiency thermal power plants (coal and LNG), and developing domestic energy sources (such as methane hydrate). This policy is also a potential threat to coal suppliers for Japan.