CoalWire 95, July 23, 2015

July 23, 2015
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features

Myanmar Villagers Stand United Against Coal Plant

“After a 10-hour overnight drive from Yangon, we finally arrive in Andin Village. It is starting to rain, turning the red dirt roads into mud, but we can’t miss the large ‘No Coal’ sign in Burmese, English, and Mon. Last May, the now empty football field hosted the latest in a series of protests against a proposed 1280 megawatt (MW) coal-fired power plant from a Thailand-based Japanese company, Toyo-Thai Corporation (TTCL)  … Nearly every house in the village has a “No Coal” sticker in the three languages – distributed as part of a survey of local opinions about the project,” writes Nicole Ghio from the Sierra Club in Huffington Post.

Suggested Tweet: #Myanmar villagers stand united against #coal plant writes @nicoleghio http://huff.to/1VnopvZ

New China Data Shows Risks for Seaborne Thermal Coal

“Statistics for the first six months of the year released this week by China’s National Energy Administration show the continuation of a major electricity sector transformation, with profound ramifications for the coal export industry,” writes Tim Buckley from the Institute for Energy Economics & Financial Analysis.

Suggested Tweet: New #China data shows how the #coal export industry is at risk http://bit.ly/1I9zVRO @ieefa_institute

campaigns

Pakistani court freezes construction of new Lahore coal plant

The Lahore High Court has ordered a freeze on the construction of a proposed coal plant in a residential area of Lahore following objections by residents and the Lahore Press Club. Muhammad Ijaz, a resident representing petitioners, objected to the health impacts of the plant and challenged the legality of the provincial government’s June 10 land acquisition for the project. The Lahore Press Club argued that the plant would adversely affect the residents of the Lahore Press Club Housing Society. Justice Shahid Karim requested the chief justice of Lahore High Court appoint a full bench to hear the case. (Express Tribune)

Suggested Tweet: #Pakistan Court freezes construction of new Lahore #coal plant http://bit.ly/1KjlgHC

top news

Protests grow against proposed Thai coal plant: A hunger strike by two members of Protect Andaman from Coal Network opposing a proposed 800 MW coal plant in Krabi, southern Thailand, has entered its second week. The Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand also faces the prospect of legal challenges if it proceeds on August 5 to open a tender for the plant construction contract before the Environmental Impact Statement and Environmental Health Impact Assessment have been completed. (The Nation, Bangkok Post)


Philippine mine shut down after nine killed in landslide: The Department of Environment and Natural Resources has announced it will suspend the environmental compliance certificate for the Semirara mine following the death of nine workers due to a mine wall collapse on July 17. The mine supplies the Semirara Mining and Power Corporation’s own 600 MW Calaca power station as well as other coal plants in the Philippines. Climate action groups have called on the government to cease issuing new coal mining and power plant licences.(Inquirer)


Engie drops Polish coal plant plan: The CEO of the French company Engie, Gérard Mestrallet, has confirmed that the company will “definitely pull out” of plans to build the 500 MW Lęczna coal plant in the Lublin region. Marek Józefiak of the Association of Polish Green Networks said the cancellation “should be a signal for other energy companies operating in Poland.” Over 4000 MW of other coal-fired plants are currently under construction in Poland. (Radio Poland, CoalSwarm)

Proposed NSW Shenhua mine faces uncertain future: Shenhua’s proposed 10 million tonne a year Watermark mine on the Liverpool Plains in New South Wales faces an uncertain future despite recent environmental approval by the Federal Government. The approval of the project has sparked an intense public backlash, prompting The Federal Minister for Agriculture, Barnaby Joyce, to state his opposition to the mine proceeding. The mine has yet to gain a mining licence from the NSW Government and farmers have vowed to blockade the project. Since Shenhua gained the exploration licence in September 2008 the global coal price has fallen dramatically and its Chinese operations have been hit by falling coal demand. (ABC News, Reuters)


Mercury concentrations in US fish falls in line with power plant emissions: A study of adult bluefish off the North Carolina coast has found that mercury concentrations have fallen by 43 per cent since 1972, mirroring a similar drop in mercury emissions across North America during the period. A major source of mercury emissions is from coal power plants. However, the study authors warn of increasing global emissions of mercury, particularly from Asia, affecting concentrations in commercial fish populations. (Environmental Health News, Environmental Science and Technology)

“While the benefits of carbon dioxide are proven, the alleged risks of climate change are contrary to observed data, are based on admitted speculation, and lack adequate scientific basis,”

stated Peabody Energy in a March 2015 submission to the US Government’s Council on Environmental Quality.

news

Australia: NSW Farmers Association calls for governments to back “the transition from fossil fuels.”


Australia: Federal Environment Minister approves South Galilee mine but major hurdles remain.


Philippines: Hundreds join 92-kilometre ‘Climate Walk’ against raft of proposed coal plants.

US: Lignite Energy Council seeks “categorical exclusion” from Clean Power Plan.


US: Opposition grows to proposed 8 million tonne Port of Oakland coal export terminal.


Vietnam: Construction begins on Chinese-owned US$1.75 billion 1200 MW Vinh Tan 1 power station.

“Private sector interest [in India] is decisively moving towards solar from coal power,”

writes Deutsche Bank analyst Abhishek Puri in his report India 2020: Utilities & Renewables.

companies + markets

Adani suspends main contractors for Galilee mine project: Adani has directed that Parsons Brinckerhoff, the project manager for the Carmichael mine in the Galilee Basin and Korean construction company Posco stop work on the proposed 60 million tonne a year mine, railway and port project.  Tim Buckley from the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA) said “we are now witnessing a rapid unravelling” of the US$11 billion proposal. (Sydney Morning Herald, Guardian)


European utility Vattenfall takes US$2.2 billion coal hit: The European power utility Vattenfall has written down the value of its German coal plants by US$2.2 billion, according to its report for the second quarter of 2015. Vattenfall blames falling demand and increasing solar and wind capacity for causing declining wholesale electricity prices. The company also notes the “higher business risks” associated with its lignite plants as a result of “poorer production margins.” (Wall Street Journal, Vattenfall)


North Korean exports to China grow: North Korean coal exports to China have grown by 25 per cent in the first five month of 2015 while exports from Vietnam have fallen by 91 per cent. Analysts believe Vietnamese coal exports are being switched for use in new power stations while North Korea – desperate for foreign currency – has boosted exports. (Bloomberg)

Oil price undercuts China coal-to-chemicals projects: The halving of the global oil price in the last year has caused state-owned Sinopec to cancel one proposed coal-to-chemicals plant and defer another. A plant proposed by Gansu Huahong Huijin may also be delayed or cancelled. Platts estimates that of the 30 most significant proposed coal-to-chemicals plants in China approximately 40 per cent are likely to be deferred or cancelled. (South China Morning Post)


US met coal miner Walter Energy opts for bankruptcy: US-headquartered metallurgical coal producer Walter Energy has opted for bankruptcy as part of a deal with its largest creditors to convert US$1.8 billion in debt into equity and restructure its US mining operations. In 2014 Walter Energy produced 9.7 million tonnes of metallurgical coal and one million tonnes of thermal coal from mines in the US, Canada and the UK. (Bloomberg)


Coal India curbs Mozambique coal project: Coal India Africana Limitada (CIAL), a wholly-owned subsidiary of Coal India, has decided to relinquish three-quarters of two exploration licences in Tete province after provincial authorities doubled holding charges on the land. When the company gained the licences in 2009 it proposed exporting five million tonnes of coal a year to India. However, after a largely unsuccessful US$80 million exploration program CIAL has decided to retain rights to only a 54 square kilometre lease area. (Mining Weekly, Platts)

“Coal is having a hard time lately …  for a real sense of coal’s diminishing prospects, check out what’s happening in the bond market. Bonds are where coal companies turn to raise money for such things as new mines and environmental cleanups. But investors are increasingly reluctant to lend to them. Coal bond prices tumbled 17 per cent in the second quarter, according to an analysis by Bloomberg Intelligence. It’s the fourth consecutive quarter of price declines and the worst performance of any industry group by a long shot,”

writes Tom Randall in Bloomberg Business.

resources

Benchmarking Air Emissions of the 100 Largest Electric Power Producers in the United States, Ceres, Natural Resources Defense Council, Bank of America & four utilities, July 2015. (Pdf)


This report documents the air pollution performance of the largest US power generators.


Co-benefits of Coal Consumption Cap Targets, Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and World Wildlife Fund, July 2015.


This article summarises the estimated benefits from a cap on coal consumption in China including on public health, water, environmental quality, employment, energy transition and the effects on the coal industry. (The full study is not available online.)

take action

Banks: Do the Paris pledge to quit coal!

BankTrack has launched an online portal for individuals and groups to call on all banks to publicly pledge to phase out finance for the coal industry before the Paris Climate Summit in December. Support the call here.