CoalWire 76, 26th February 2015

features

New Coal Power Plants in China – a (Carbon) Bubble Waiting to Burst

“While China’s coal consumption growth has slowed down, and fell in 2014, coal-fired power generating capacity continues to grow rapidly. This apparent contradiction has led some observers to conclude that China’s coal consumption growth is bound to resume. But the evidence suggests otherwise. Instead, the continued build-up of coal-fired power plants represents an investment bubble that will burst as over-capacity becomes too large to ignore,”writes Lauri Myllyvirta from Greenpeace East Asia in Energy Desk.

Suggested Tweet: New #coal power plants in #China – a (carbon) bubble waiting to burst writes @laurimyllyvirta http://bit.ly/1B76Fwc via @Energydesk

What Might Happen to Alpha Natural Resources in 2015?

“February still has an entire week left but the understatement-of-the-month award has to go to Kevin Crutchfield, the chairman and CEO of Alpha Natural Resources. ‘Yet again a challenging year for the coal industry,’ Crutchfield said when the company came out with its grim fourth-quarter and full-year financial results for 2014. ‘Challenging’ is a nice word for ‘dire.’ Alpha’s numbers chronicled a bad year indeed, and the company’s forward-looking guidance indicated little likelihood of recovery in 2015,” writes Tom Sanzillo from Institute for Energy Economics & Financial Analysis.

Suggested Tweet: What Might Happen to Alpha Natural Resources in 2015? writes Tom Sanzillo @ieefa_institute http://bit.ly/18gPUU5 @alphanr #coal

A Resettlement Injustice in the Making

“Kosovo and the World Bank are trying to avoid responsibility for the impoverishment and suffering that will surely come on the heels of the involuntary resettlement of over 7000 Kosovars from their homes and communities” for the Kosovo coal-fired power plant, writes Nezir Sinani of the Bank Information Center in Huffington Post.

Suggested Tweet: World Bank trying to opt-out of its own resettlement standards for #Kosovo #coal project writes @NezirSinani http://huff.to/1AoBLPg

campaigns

Pakistani Province Dumps 6000 Megawatt Gadani Power Park

The Minister for Finance in Sindh province has told parliament that the proposed 6000 megawatt (MW) Gadani Power Project has been scrapped. “The project is near Karachi which can cause a disaster. Not only has the Sindh government termed it an unfit location, but environmentalists and technical experts have also agreed,” Murad Ali Shah told the Provincial Assembly of Sindh, saying that the Chinese company which had entered into a Memorandum of Understanding for the plant, to have been based on imported coal, had now distanced itself from the project. (Express Tribune)

Suggested Tweet: #Pakistan dumps 6000 MW Gadani Power Park; Provincial Finance Minister says project could “cause a disaster” http://bit.ly/17vYuNO #coal

Indian Forests Ministry Urges Protection of Mahan Forest

The campaign to stop the Mahan coal mine in Madhya Pradesh has been buoyed by the Ministry of the Environment and Forests (MoEF) opposing the coal block being auctioned off. In a December 22, 2014 memo the ministry noted that while approval for forest clearance had been granted, mining had not commenced. “The block may, therefore, not be auctioned as the block is located in inviolate forest area,” the memo stated. The Mahan coal block was excluded from the initial auction of coal blocks but the Ministry of Coal has yet to decide whether it will be included in future auctions. (Indian Express, Greenpeace India)

Suggested Tweet: #India’s Forests Ministry urges protection of #Mahan forest from #coal mining http://bit.ly/1D9dRnZ http://bit.ly/1A4CYX6

top news

South Africa gives air polluters another five years’ grace: The Department of Environmental Affairs has granted major polluters an additional five years to comply with the national air quality legislation. The legislation, which was first drafted in 2005 and came into effect in 2010, set April 1, 2015 as the compliance deadline. However, companies including electricity utility Eskom and coal-to-oil producer Sasol lobbied for – and have been granted – a five-year reprieve. “This decision means people will die,” said Bobby Peek from groundWork, an environmental justice group. (Reuters, Mail & Guardian)


US coal company a big backer of climate sceptic: Internal Smithsonian documents obtained by the Climate Investigations Center have revealed that prominent climate change sceptic Willie Soon received US$409,000 from a subsidiary of Southern Company, a major US utility with a heavy reliance on coal-fired power stations. Soon was also funded by Exxon Mobil, American Petroleum Institute and Donors Trust. Soon published papers in academic journals, testified before Congress and was widely cited by major media outlets challenging global warming but without disclosing his sponsors. (New York Times, Climate Investigations Center)


Rising health toll from NSW’s Hunter Valley coal: A major report by the Climate and Health Alliance has estimated the five major coal-fired power stations in New South Wales Hunter Valley imposed a health cost of over US$460 million on residents. The report estimated the social cost of the 148 million tonnes of coal produced from the Hunter Valley, of which 126 million tonnes is exported through the Newcastle port, at over US$12 billion. The report calls for a ban on new mines. (Sydney Morning Herald, Climate and Health Alliance)

Bid to overturn Colombian ban on overnight trains: The Colombian railway operator Fenoco and the Mines and Energy Ministry have applied to the Constitutional Court to overturn a court decision banning the operation of coal trains between 10:30pm and 4:30am. Fenoco argues the night-time rail ban could cut exports by Drummond, Glencore and Goldman Sachs Group by approximately 14 to 16 million tonnes a year. (Bloomberg)


US government files criminal charges against Duke Energy: The US Department of Justice and US Attorney’s Office have filed criminal charges against Duke Energy for violations of the Clean Water Act. The charges against the company are for failing to maintain equipment at the Dan River and Cape Fear power stations and illegal discharges of coal ash tailings from dams at four of its power stations. Duke Energy has proposed to settle the case by paying about US$100 million in fines and costs to clean up the pollution. (New York Times, United States Attorney’s Office)


Study says India’s air pollution cuts life for 660 million: A study by economists from Chicago, Harvard and Yale universities estimates that 660 million people in India would live approximately 3.2 years longer if India’s air quality met the level deemed by the government to be ‘safe’. The World Health Organization estimates that 13 of the world’s 20 worst cities for fine particulate pollution are in India. (Economic and Political Weekly, International Business Times)

“Consider this: for all of the attention the Ebola virus has received in recent months, coal is a far deadlier killer,”

write four Australian faith leaders – Raja Jayaraman, Jonathan Keren-Black, Thea Ormerod and Stephen Pickard.

news

Bosnia: Four companies shortlisted for 350 MW Banovici brown coal plant.


Botswana: Mines Minister visits Zimbabwe to advance use of existing railways to increase coal exports.


Croatia: Council unanimously backs March 29 referendum on proposed Plomin C plant.

India: Port Trust ponders new satellite port for coal at Vijaydurg or Dahanu in Maharashtra.


Mongolia: Shipment of Mongolian coal totest viability of exports via Raijin port on North Korea.


Zimbabwe: Four of six generating units at Hwange power station break down, spurring imports.

“Coal markets have been in the doldrums as supply has remained stubbornly high in the face of weakening demand,”

writes ANZ Bank in an overview of the global coal market.

companies + markets

Wyoming bid to finance coal ports: Stung by the rejection of a proposed new coal port in Oregon, Wyoming legislators have drafted a bill to enable the Wyoming Infrastructure Authority to raise up to US$1 billion for port projects outside the state. The proposed bill has the support of the Wyoming Mining Association. Additional coal exports from Wyoming and Montana require new port capacity on the west coast of the US. (Bellingham Herald)


Norwegian pension fund dumps Indian utility over Bangladesh plant: The Norwegian Government Pension Fund Global has sold US$55 million of shares in the Indian government-owned National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) due to the impacts of a proposed coal plant on the Sundarbans World Heritage site. The Norwegian Council of Ethics recommended the fund divest “due to an unacceptable risk of the company contributing to severe environmental damage” from the proposed 1320 MW Rampal coal plant. (Prothom Alo,Council of Ethics)


Coal India bails out of Benga mine in Mozambique: The board of Coal India has directed that the company withdraw from International Coal Ventures Limited (ICVL), a joint venture of Indian government-owned coal-importing companies. Coal India has a 28% stake in ICVL. Coal India has also said it will decide by September whether it will also abandon two exploration blocks near Moatize. (Economic Times, Platts)

Rio Tinto subsidiary offloads Mongolian coal interest: Turquoise Hill Resources has agreed to sell its entire stake in SouthGobi Resources, its Mongolian coal mining subsidiary, for US$6.8 million to the Chinese company Novel Sunrise Investments. This sale, along with that of another parcel of shares sold in July 2014, would provide Turquoise Hill Resources with US$17.2 million for a stake which was valued at US$1.8 billion at the height of the coal boom. Turquoise Hill Resources is majority-owned by Rio Tinto. (Reuters, Turquoise Hill Resources)


Indian police arrest executives over stolen ministry documents: Police have arrested two staff of the Ministry of Coal and Power for questioning over the theft of “sensitive” government documents which were sold to the publisher of an industry magazine. Executives from five energy companies – including Reliance and Essar – have also been arrested over the purchase of stolen documents. Police allege documents were stolen in after-hours break-ins from the Ministry of Defence, Ministry of Petroleum and the Ministry of Coal and Power. (Indian Express, Livemint)

“Reducing pollution from coal brings major benefits for public health, too. Pollution from burning coal contributes to more than 7500 deaths in the US every year, and in India that number is 100,000. It is an avoidable tragedy, and it places an enormous burden on hospitals and health care providers,”

said Michael Bloomberg, the UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Cities and Climate Change, at a recent Indian conference on renewable energy.

resources

“The myth of the dark side of the Energiewende”, Energy Post, February 16, 2015.


This article provides a detailed rebuttal of the claim that Germany’s renewables energy transition plan, Energiewende, is pushing up coal-fired generation.


Heat on Power, Centre for Science and Environment (CSE), January 2015.


This report reviews half of India’s coal-fired power stations and ranks them by their generation efficiency. CSE proposes a range of measures to reduce coal and water consumption and air pollution from existing coal plants.

Air Pollution and Health in Turkey: Facts, Figures and Recommendations, Health and Environment Alliance, February 2015. (Pdf)


This five-page briefing paper provides an overview of the health impacts from air pollution in Turkey and in particular the contribution from coal-fired power stations.


Your money for the sake of the climate? Our Bank greenwashing!, Friends of the Earth France. (Video)


This is a great little video on banks greenwashing their investments in coal. It’s in French, but with English subtitles.