by CarbonBrief, June 5, 2018
Since 2000, the world has doubled its coal-fired power capacity to 2,000 gigawatts (GW) after explosive growth in China and India. Another 200GW is being built and 450GW is planned.
More recently, 200GW has closed due to a wave of retirements across the EU and US. Another 170GW is set to retire by 2030 and 13 of the world’s 77 coal-powered countries plan a total phaseout.
Meanwhile, electricity generated from coal peaked in 2014, so the expanding fleet is running fewer hours than ever. This erodes coal’s bottom line, as does competition from gas and renewables.
The way coal’s next chapter unfolds is key to tackling climate change. All unabated coal must close within a few decades if warming is to be limited to less than 2C above pre-industrial temperatures, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA).
To shed light on this story, Carbon Brief has mapped the past, present and future of all the world’s coal-fired power stations. The interactive timeline map, above, shows the plants operating in each year between 2000 and 2017, as well as the location of planned new capacity.