Asia continues to pivot away from coal – by Tim Buckly (Asia Times – April 2019)

The number of thermal coal plants in development pipelines of major Asian countries continues to free-fall, according to new data. The decline poses a warning to the world’s biggest exporters of thermal coal – Australia and Indonesia – to check supply.

The latest coal-fired power plant data released by Global Energy Monitor (GEM) in March shows further shrinkage of coal development pipelines of Japan, Taiwan, Malaysia, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Vietnam and China.

Countries across Asia are shifting away from thermal coal into cleaner renewable-energy options, further validating the prediction of the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA) that the Asian seaborne thermal coal market is approaching long-term, permanent decline.

China is the biggest importer of thermal coal, with a 19% share of global imports. The latest GEM data show China’s thermal coal plant pipeline plummeting 86% since 2015. The second-largest importer is India, with the latest GEM figures showing the development pipeline has collapsed by a remarkable 81% since 2015.

Japanese, Korean pipelines eroding

Representing a 13% share of global thermal coal imports, Japan’s pipeline of new coal-fired power plants collapsed 64% in four years according to the latest GEM data, putting Japan’s pipeline under 4.6 gigawatts, from almost 12.7GW of projects at January 2015.

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