Compared to older coal-based power generation systems, modern high efficiency, low emissions (HELE) power plants remain an attractive proposition in some economies. They can provide cleaner affordable electricity, and are capable of flexible cyclic and low load operation, increasingly needed to compensate for the fluctuating output from intermittent renewables supplying the same grid.
Various countries are, or plan to, develop proposals for new coal-fired power generating capacity. This may be to replace outdated coal power plants, or to provide much-needed electricity to populations where energy poverty is common. Even smaller-scale projects can have a major impact, particularly in emerging economies. Effective, affordable electricity is a prerequisite for driving meaningful social and economic development.
Coal-based power projects proposed or in development are examined via a series of case studies of countries where coal is viewed as a viable option for generating affordable, reliable electricity. For each, it considers the influence of government policies and environmental regulations, and examines the scale and type of technologies that might be deployed in the future. The countries studied are organised in five groups, based on their coal-based generating capacity proposed or in development, considered to have a reasonable chance of proceeding. Group 1 (43–62 GW) comprises China and India; Group 2 (10–44 GW) consists of Turkey, Bangladesh, Japan, Vietnam, Indonesia, Egypt, Philippines, Pakistan, South Africa, and the United Arab Emirates; Group 3 (2–10 GW) includes Mongolia, South Korea, Thailand, Iran, Zimbabwe, Cambodia, Taiwan, Nigeria, Laos, Oman, Poland, Botswana and Kenya; Group 4 (around 2.5 GW or less) is Tanzania, Greece, Australia, Bulgaria, Romania, Tajikistan, Niger, Morocco, Mozambique, Malaysia, Malawi, Sri Lanka, Dominican Republic, Ghana, Cote d’Ivoire, Kosovo, Jordan, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Serbia, Senegal and Guinea. Group 5 have a coal power sector but limited possibilities for new projects, and includes Canada, Czechia (Czech Republic), Russia, Slovenia and the USA.