- Cheap natural gas, the declining cost of renewables and aggressive carbon emissions restrictions have all led to the cancelation of massive amounts of proposed coal capacity, according to data compiled by CoalSwarm, a group affiliated with environmental organizations, Greentech Media reports.
- According to the site's data, some 750 GW of proposed coal capacity was canceled between 2010 and 2016. And Greentech Media reports 150 GW of global capacity projects were canceled in the first half of this year alone.
- Highlighting that trend, AES Corp. announced this fall that it has no plans to construct new coal-fired generation, setting aside a pair of in-progress international projects.
AES' September announcement that the company would shift focus from coal projects to battery storage, renewables and gas, fits right alongside the trend illustrated by CoalSwarm's data. Much of the global slowdown in proposed projects is led by India and China, which have combined to cancel 500,000 MW of proposed coal capacity.
Since 2010, the United States has canceled about 26,000 MW of coal projects, according to the database.
For the first time this year, gas-fired generation will outpace coal, while the cost of storage, and wind and solar energy have all been declining. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, coal production is expected to decrease by 18% in the United States, the largest annual decline since 1949.
The power sector accounts for 90% of the United States coal consumption, and is expected to decline almost 10% this year. But owing to market factors, the coal industry is actually expected to see a boost next year as the price of natural gas ticks up.
Coal is expected to generate 31% of the country's power next year, compared with 30% this year. Gas will decline from 34% this year to about 33% in 2017.