Coalwire 89, May 28, 2015

May 29, 2015
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features

Is any bank dumb enough to fund the Galilee Basin coal project?

“Let’s play a fun game called, ‘which is the dumbest bank on the planet?’  There’s plenty of competition, of course … But in 2015 the prize would definitely go to the bank that decides to underwrite the first Galilee Basin ultra-mega-coalapolooza … The question is, what about Australia’s ‘big four’ banks, who have yet to say anything in public one way or the other. Everyone knows that Adani must be asking them for money, since they can’t find anyone else and since the new Queensland state government seems at least a little less gullible than the last one when it comes to publicly financing such risky and destructive projects,” writes Bill McKibben in The Guardian.

Suggested Tweet: @billmckibben: Is any bank dumb enough to fund Galilee Basin #coal? http://bit.ly/1chSdri  @CommBank @NAB @Westpac @ANZ_AU

Inside the war on coal in the US

“The war on coal is not just political rhetoric, or a paranoid fantasy concocted by rapacious polluters. It’s real and it’s relentless. Over the past five years, it has killed a coal-fired power plant every 10 days. It has quietly transformed the US electric grid and the global climate debate,” writes Michael Grunwald in Politico.

Suggested Tweet: Inside the war on #coal in the #US http://politi.co/1PMz830

The Rise and Fall of the FutureGen ‘Clean Coal’ Plant in the US

“When the US Department of Energy pulled the plug in February on a $1 billion subsidy to build FutureGen, a ‘clean coal’ plant in Illinois, it put a merciful end to a twisted tale that had been unravelling for years. The coal industry peddled influence at high levels among both Democrats and Republicans to move the project forward, but in the end it was killed – and rightly so – by economic realities,” writes Sandy Buchanan from the Institute for Energy Economics & Financial Analysis.

Suggested Tweet: The rise and fall of the FutureGen ‘clean #coal’ plant in the #US http://bit.ly/1J2FCGZ

campaign update

Norwegian pension fund to slash coal investments

A parliamentary committee of the Norwegian Parliament has recommended that the US$900 billion Norwegian Government Pension Fund Global (GPFG) should exclude all companies which receive over 30 per cent of their revenue from coal-related activities. “Investing in coal companies poses both a climate risk and a future economic risk,” the bipartisan committee said. The committee’s recommendation will be voted on by parliament on June 5. Under the proposed change the fund could still retain investments in major coal producers such as BHP Billiton which has diversified mining interests. (Reuters)

Suggested Tweet: US$900 bn Norwegian pension fund retreats on #coal http://bit.ly/1FcoJlG Who’s next? @ieefa_institute

US Environmental Protection Agency closes power plant pollution loophole

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has closed a legal loophole which previously allowed industrial plants, including power stations, to be exempt from the air pollution standards of the Clean Air Act during startup and shutdown of plants; or due to equipment malfunction.  The change, which follows recent court decisions and a request for the change by the Sierra Club, requires 36 states to amend their Clean Air Act implementation plans by November 22, 2016. The loopholes had allowed some industrial plants to emit more pollution during startup, shutdown and malfunction episodes than during the rest of the year. (Environmental Protection Agency, Sierra Club)

top news

Indian court grants reprieve to Greenpeace: The Delhi High Court has allowed Greenpeace India to access two bank accounts which hold funds raised from domestic supporters. In April the Indian Government froze all Greenpeace India accounts under provisions of the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act and withdrew its foreign funding licence. (Times of India, Deutsche Welle)


World Health Organization embraces need to cut air pollution: The annual assembly of the World Health Organization has called for more energy efficiency and renewable energy to cut the estimated 3.7 million deaths a year from outside air pollution and 4.3 million from indoor pollution. The Health and Environment Alliance has welcomed the decision as a “powerful stepping stone for greater health engagement” ahead of the Paris climate change convention negotiations in Paris in December. (World Health Organization,  Responding to Climate Change)

Australian mine fire inquiry re-opens:  The inquiry into the 45-day-long fire at Hazelwood mine in Victoria’s Latrobe Valley has been re-opened to investigate whether the intense air pollution from the fire caused a spike in deaths of residents. The inquiry will also investigate options to improve  rehabilitation standards in the state’s coal mines; and alternatives to the bond system which currently does not fully cover the estimated costs of rehabilitation. (The Age)


India’s environment tribunal wants coal yards cleanup: The Indian Government’s National Green Tribunal has directed the Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh state governments to instruct all thermal power stations and coal companies to submit status reports on their coal dumps by July 6. The court order followed a petition submitted to the court by an activist over the health impacts from high pollution levels of coal overburden and fly ash dumps. (Nyooz)

“Because we aggressively reduced coal consumption [in Beijing] in the first quarter of the year, the level of sulfur dioxide in the period reached a historical low,”

said Li Xiang, an official with the Beijing Environment Bureau, a municipal agency.

news

Australia: Great Barrier Reef agency can’t afford US$38 million cleanup cost of 2010 coal ship accident.


Colombia:  Coal exports in 2015 to drop by 10 million tonnes due to legal win by residents.


US: Appeals Court overturns approval for coal tunnelling under Burr Oak State Park in southeastern Ohio.

US: Over 100,000 object to US Forest Service consideration of Arch Coal’s Colorado mine plan.


US: Alaska’s Department of Natural Resources delays Chuitna decision until after public hearing.

“As China makes up 22 per cent of seaborne trade and is expected to see continued domestic oversupply, the country will be a major cause of depressed global import demand this year … Market fundamentals outside of China also remain uninspiring, for both metallurgical and thermal coal. Under such circumstances a material price recovery is unlikely this year,”

stated the global insurance group AXA in a policy statement announcing that it would divest from mining companies which generated more than 50 per cent of their income from thermal  coal and electric utilities which derived over half their energy from coal plants.

companies + markets

Power price hike requested to cover US ‘clean coal’ costs: South Mississippi Electric Power Association has withdrawn from its plan to buy a US$600 million stake in the US$6.2 billion Kemper coal plant with partial carbon capture and storage. Faced with major cost over-runs and the collapse of the sale of a 15 per cent stake in the project Southern Company has told Mississippi’s energy regulator that it may seek approval for a 41 per cent price increase to cover the cost of the project.  (Wall Street Journal, Clarion-Ledger)
Coal India set to abandon Mozambique coal project: Coal India is set to abandon its US$80 million coal exploration project in Tete province subject to approval from the Modi Government. While Coal India found no viable coal deposit it is delaying announcing an official decision as the project had been held up as an example of growing Indian Government support for the development of Mozambique’s energy sector. (Mining Weekly)

resources

Cheyyurr UMPP: Financial Plan Will Make Electricity Unaffordable, Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis, May 2015. (Pdf)


This report concludes the Indian Government’s plan for the 4000 megawatt (MW) Chyyurr ‘Ultra Mega Power Project’ based on imported coal is not viable and would result in higher costs for distribution companies and consumers than alternatives.