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Global Coal Power Falls for First Time Even as China Builds More

  • Net 2.9 gigawatts of coal power lost in first half of 2020
  • China risks building overcapacity as Asia scales back growth
Coal Transport As Price Declines And U.S. Natural Gas Futures Reverse Gain

Photographer: George Frey/Bloomberg

Global coal-fired power capacity edged down for the first time on record in the first half of 2020 as retirements accelerated and the coronavirus saw new projects put on hold.

The closing of plants, especially in Europe and the U.S., outpaced the start of new units, more than 60% of which were in China, according to a report by Global Energy Monitor. The net decline of 2.9 gigawatts may be small, at just over 0.1% of the world’s coal generation capacity, but marks a turning point in the burning of the dirtiest fossil fuel to produce electricity.