CoalWire 71, 22nd January 2015

January 22, 2015

features

Grassroots Victory Stops Central Illinois Coal Mine

“An eight year battle against a central Illinois strip mine ends in victory for the communities of Canton and Orion township. An arm of Springfield Coal Company asked the Illinois Department of Natural Resources to terminate their permit for their North Canton Mine before a court hearing challenging errors in permit approval,” writes Will Reynolds in EcoWatch.

Suggested Tweet: Grassroots victory stops central Illinois #coal mine http://bit.ly/1yH7qLf via @ecowatch @beyondcoal

campaigns

Court overturns ban on Greenpeace India funds

The High Court of Delhi has overturned a Ministry of Home Affairs freeze on a Greenpeace India bank account holding approximately US$310,000 in funds from Greenpeace International. Justice Rajiv Shakdher ruled that freezing the account was illegal and unconstitutional.  He also pointedly noted the ministry had not provided Greenpeace India with documents or reasons for its decision, which had been made following an Intelligence Bureau report citing the group’s anti-coal activism. Greenpeace has welcomed the decision as “a victory for democracy and free speech.”(NDTV.com, Greenpeace India)

Suggested Tweet: Court overturns freeze on @greenpeaceindia funds for its #coal and #climate activism http://bit.ly/157Dc7L http://bit.ly/1CfIYRT

Colombian court bans overnight trains on coal railway

Colombia’s constitutional court has ruled that a major coal railway cannot be used between 10:30pm and 4:30am due to the noise impacts on the residents of the town of Bosconia. The railway is owned and used by Drummond, Glencore’s subsidiary Prodeco, and Goldman Sachs affiliate Colombian Natural Resources. The decision was in response to a complaint filed by 139 residents of Bosconia about the noise and the health impacts of dust from the coal wagons. As the decision was made by the country’s highest court, the companies have limited options for appeals. (Reuters)

Suggested Tweet:  #Colombia’s highest court bans overnight trains on #coal railway to cut noise impact on residents http://reut.rs/1ytA9T9

“The future lies with solar. Coal thermal has to remain the mainstay for India for the next 15-20 years, but I doubt I will build a new thermal power plant 10 years from now. The reason for that is renewable energy will keep declining in its cost. Solar power is already close to grid parity,”

Ratul Puri, the chairman of Hindustan Power Projects, which is developing several major coal projects in India, told the Financial Express.

top news

New legal challenge to Adani’s Galilee coal mine: The Mackay Conservation Group has lodged a legal challenge to the decision by federal Minister for the Environment, Greg Hunt, approving Adani’s proposed Carmichael coal mine. The legal action argues that the greenhouse gases from the burning of the proposed 60 million tonnes per annum (Mtpa) of coal are significant enough that the Minister should have considered the impact of the emissions on the Great Barrier Reef.(Guardian, Brisbane Times)


Villagers challenge coal block allocation:Representatives of 20 villages in Chhattisgarh have objected to a Modi government decision to re-allocate 16 coal blocks in forested ‘no go’ areas without their consent. The villagers argue that under the Forest Rights Act and other legislation the permission of village councils is mandatory for any mining activity. (Economic Times)


Pakistan power project abandoned: The proposed 6600 MW Gadani power project, comprising 10 660 MW units, has been abandoned due to little interest from potential investors. The project was proposed to be based on 20 Mtpa of imported coal with finance and technical support from Chinese companies. (Daily Times)

Ministry committee wants Indian ‘mega’ power project moved: An advisory committee of the Indian Ministry of Environment and Forests has recommended the proposed 4000 megawatt (MW) Pudimadaka power project in Andhra Pradesh be moved to a more appropriate location. The Experts Appraisal Committee found the publicly-owned National Thermal Power Corporation was proposing the plant be built in an “ecologically sensitive” location which is also a “tsunami prone area.” (Deccan Herald)


EU power sector emissions plummet:Greenhouse gas emissions from the power sector across the 28 countries in the European Union fell by over 8 per cent in 2014, caused in part by a 2.7 per cent fall in electricity consumption. Major falls in coal power generation occurred in Germany, France, Italy, the UK and Poland. (Sandbag)

“Some [Bharatiya Janata Party spokespersons] have even accused organisations like Greenpeace of being ‘anti-national foreign agents’ who are working against the Modi government’s development agenda. Such an authoritarian attitude is indeed worrisome, to put it mildly. The premise that questioning the Modi model of development is tantamount to anti-national activity bodes ill for our democracy,”

states the Indian news website, DNA, in an editorial.

news

India: Pollution from Indian coal plantscausing smog in Pakistan.


Global: Chief Executive of World Coal Association departs; search for replacement begins.


North Korea: No coal exported to China after new quality standards enforced.

South Africa: Eskom confirms first unit of Kusile power station delayed until 2017.


Vietnam: Bechtel pursues role in proposed Hon Khoai port project in Ca Mau province.

companies + markets

Indonesian coal producers call for big cuts: The chairman of the Indonesia Coal Mining Association has called on the government to cap coal exports at 300 million tonnes and cut total production by at least 50 million tonnes in 2015 to restore the profitability of producers. Without production cuts, Bob Kamandanu said, “it may take two years for prices to improve.” In early January the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources said the target for exports in 2015 was 333 million tonnes. (Bloomberg)


Merkel dashes fossil fuel generators’ hopes for handouts: German Chancellor Angela Merkel has snubbed lobbying by coal and gas-fired generators for cash payments to keep loss-making fossil fuel power stations operating in a “capacity market”. Struggling utilities such as RWE and E.ON have argued that payments would keep unprofitable plants online for when wind and solar were generating less. “I share your scepticism as regards to capacity markets. We want the most efficient solution,” Merkel told the audience at a renewable energy industry event. (Reuters)


Chinese steel lobby group says output peaking: Zhang Guangning, the chairman of the China Iron & Steel Association (CISA), told the lobby group’s annual conference that “China’s steel sector has already entered a period of peaking and flattening out.” While China’s steel production capacity is approximately 1.2 billion tonnes, in 2014 it was estimated that 815 million tonnes was produced, a marginal decline on 2013. A decline in steel production would have major impact on markets for both iron ore and metallurgical coal. (Reuters)

Four EU utilities dump CCS lobby membership: Four major European Union electricity utilities – RWE, Electricité de France, Vattenfall and Gas Natural Fenosa – have quit their membership of the pro-Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) lobby group, Zero Emission Platform. In a letter of resignation the four stated that they had “restricted time and budget” and that “we do not have the necessary economic framework conditions in Europe to make CCS an attractive technology to invest in.” (Reuters)


Nordic Fund to dump thermal coal stocks:Nordea Asset Management, which has US$228 billion invested and is the largest Nordic fund manager, may sell its stock in as many as 40 coal companies which have a “large and sustained exposure to thermal coal mining.” Sasja Beslik, the head of corporate governance at Nordea, said that “[thermal coal mining] is the most environmentally compromising fossil-fuel resource.” (Financial Times)


Poland grapples with declining demand, unprofitable mines: Power generation from Polish coal and lignite power stations fell more than 5 per cent in 2014 compared to 2013 due to imports of cleaner power from Nordic countries. As demand has fallen, the losses of government-owned coal companies have mounted. Two weeks ago Prime Minister Ewa Kopacz backed a plan to shut four unprofitable mines but, following protests by mine workers, has ruled out closures.(Bloomberg, Financial Times)

resources

Renewable Power Generation Costs in 2014, International Renewable Energy Agency, January 2014. (Pdf)This report details the costs and trends affecting renewable electricity generation compared to fossil fuels.
Tough market conditions for Australian thermal coal producers in 2015, Platts, January 19, 2015.This 7-minute podcast provides an overview of some of the factors affecting Australian coal exports to Asia and the outlook for 2015.