CoalWire 138, June 16, 2016

June 16, 2016

editor’s note

According to the latest BP Statistical Review coal consumption in 2015 dropped by the largest percentage decline on record. Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) estimate renewables are winning the war on costs against fossil fuels power generation far faster than most imagined. However, they caution the rate of deployment of renewables – while accelerating – is insufficient to reach the Paris Agreement targets of keeping the global temperature increase to between 1.5 and 2 degrees. BNEF argues what happens in India, the largest potential growth market for new coal plants, will be decisive. There are dramatic signs of change and challenge in India: four proposed 4000 MW plants have been recently scrapped while the financial toll from the summer drought mounts on generators in water-stressed states.  In Croatia, a long-running campaign to stop the Plomin C plant has finally been won.

Bob Burton

features

Coal’s claim on India’s future weakens further

A series of economic and policy shifts, combined with growing alarm over worsening air pollution and a growing water crisis, are weakening coal’s claim on India’s future, write Bob Burton and Ashish Fernandes in EndCoal.

Tweet: #Coal’s claim on #India’s future weakens further @bobburtonoz @ashishfernandes http://bit.ly/1twV3Cj

Indonesia’s coal addiction reaches new heights

With coal exports falling, Indonesian coal companies are looking to lock in government support for coal plants despite major health and environmental impacts, writes Nithin Coca in Southeast Asia Globe.

Tweet: #Indonesia’s #coal addiction reaches new heights https://sea-globe.com/19553-2-coal-indonesia/ #environment

campaigns

Croatia drops plan for Plomin C

After a five-year campaign by environmentalists, the Croatian Government has scrapped the proposed 500 megawatt (MW) Plomin C plant. In 2014 Hungary’s Environmental Management and Law Association argued the commitment by the Croatian state electricity company HEP to buy at least half the output of the plant breached rules against state subsidies for projects, a view the European Commission (EC) apparently agreed with. With strong local opposition, a history of companies and banks pulling out of the controversial project, and reported EC opposition to the project, earlier this year the Minister for Environment in the country’s centre-right government flagged the need to develop an energy strategy more consistent with the European Union’s emphasis on renewables and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.(Bankwatch, CoalSwarm)

Tweet: #PlominC #coal plant stopped after 5 yr campaign. Time for #renewables to shine in #Croatia http://bit.ly/plominc

top news

US study reveals widespread pollution from ash ponds: A review of the impact of coal-ash dams on water quality at 15 sites near power stations in five states concludes both surface and groundwater are contaminated by unlined ponds. The study – which was funded by the Southern Environmental Law Center – found high levels of heavy metals at all sites tested; and trace elements exceeding US Environmental Protection Agency standards for drinking water and aquatic life at over a quarter of the sites. (Duke University, Environmental Science & Technology)


Peabody’s bankruptcy filing reveals advocacy slush funds: Documents filed by Peabody Energy as part of its US bankruptcy proceedings list as creditors a raft of groups denying or downplaying the significance of climate change. The filings reveal Peabody has funded groups such as the Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change, climate contrarians Richard Lindzen and Willie Soon and numerous other PR and lobbying groups. (Guardian, PR Watch)


Filipino agency calls on ADB to press banks to ditch coal: The Secretary of the Philippines Government’s Climate Change Commission, Emmanuel de Guzman, has called on the Asian Development Bank to press local banks to end their support for coal-fired power plants. “Green growth, green jobs [are important] but there are still financial institutions funding coal power plant constructions,” he said. (Inquirer)

Pollution from BHP Billiton waste dams in Indonesia: Waste water from two tailings dams at BHP Billiton’s Haju mine in Central Kalimantan spilled into the Beriwit River, the main water supply for the local community. The mine, which commenced production in late 2015, is the first stage in the IndoMet Coal project. WALHI (Friends of the Earth Indonesia) has demanded the company be sanctioned over the pollution and restore the area which has been contaminated.  In early June BHP Billiton announced it is planning to sell its 75 stake in the project to its minority partners Adaro. (MediaIndonesia, BorneoNews) [Indonesian]


Supreme Court dismisses appeal against mercury rule: The US Supreme Court has dismissed an appeal by 20 states against the US Environmental Protection Agency’s regulation of mercury and other toxic pollutants from coal burning. The ruling leaves intact a lower court decision that the EPA revise how it calculates the costs and benefits of the regulation. The EPA completed its revised estimate in April, concluding each dollar spent by utilities in cutting pollution resulted in a public health benefit of nine dollars. (Washington Post)

news

Mozambique: Vale suspends use of Sena railway for exports after attacks on trains.


Pakistan: Chinese companies agree to finance and build coal port near Bin Qasim for new plant.

South Africa: Ship returns to Richards Bay after coal found smouldering in a hold.


US: Linc Energy, the proponent of a coal-to-gas project in Wyoming, files for bankruptcy.

companies + markets

Investment flows to renewables to dominate: Bloomberg New Energy Finance estimate the cost of solar will fall 60 per cent by 2040 and wind by 41 per cent, making them the cheapest power generation option in many countries in the 2020’s and most of the world in the 2030’s. However, continued investment in coal plants in Asia and India in particular are estimated to remain far higher than consistent with the Paris Agreement, with peak emissions estimated not to be achieved for another 11 years. In its annual energy review BP estimates global coal consumption fell by 1.8 per cent and production by four per cent in 2015. (Bloomberg New Energy Finance, BP Statistical Review)


US coal mining hits 35-year low: US coal production in the first three months of 2016 fell by 17 per cent to the lowest level since 1981. The fall is due to a combination of old coal plants being retired due to citizen activism, a reliance on the use of stockpiled coal, slowing electricity demand growth, utilities switching from coal to gas plants and the growth in renewables. The largest fall in production was from mines in the Powder River Basin in Montana and Wyoming. (New York Times, Energy Information Administration)


Support for Indonesian plants waning as exports drop: The Indonesian Ministry of Energy has revealed 16,000 MW of power station project tenders have been delayed this year pending the finalisation of the next 10-year power plan. The delay and the omission of some projects from a draft of the plan has irritated private Indonesian power producers and coal companies which are pressing the government to press ahead with its plan for 35,000 of new capacity by 2019. Indonesian exports in February fell six per cent compared to the same month in 2015. (Reuters, Platts)


Losses mount from Indian drought: Data from the Central Electricity Authority and NTPC has revealed between March and May coal power plants forwent seven billion kilowatt hours of generation due to lack of water. Greenpeace India estimates the lost generation was worth about US$350 million.  Water shortages in West Bengal, Karnataka and Maharashtra affected plants operated by companies including NTPC, Adani Power, GMR and MahaGenco. (Business Standard, Economic Times)


India dumps four Ultra-Mega projects:Community opposition and a lack of interest by state governments in four 4000 MW Ultra Mega Power Projects has led the central government to scrap the special purpose companies created to develop the projects in Chhattisgarh, Karnataka, Maharashtra and Odisha. The four projects would have consumed approximately 46 million tonnes of coal, with half imported. In April India’s coal imports fell by 15 per cent compared to the same month in 2015. (Economic Times, RenewEconomy)


Analyst warns of costs of Odisha over-capacity: ICICI Securities has warned of the costs of looming over-capacity in Odisha where the state government signed 27 memorandums of understanding with independent power producers for plants totalling 40,000 MW in capacity. While many are unlikely to be built, the analyst warns the commissioning of at least 8000 MW of capacity will result in electricity distributors being “stressed to service the increased capacity charge on under-utilised capacity.” (Moneylife)

resources

Investor Briefing: Water Shortages Threaten Coal Company Revenues, Greenpeace India, June 2016. (pdf)

This 24-page briefing reveals that, despite the owners of six major coal plants losing about US$350 million in income, over 50,000 megawatts (MW) of new coal power plants are planned in areas of high water stress.

Tweet: US$350m hit to #coal power cos in #India due to lack of #water @greenpeaceindia briefing http://bit.ly/23c5AyB


The End of Coal: How Should the Next Government Respond, Green Institute, June 2016. (Pdf)

This 60-page report is a collection of essays from leading analysts, academics and activists on the need for the next Australian Government to prepare for a rapid transition away from a reliance on coal.

Tweet: New Green Institute report The end of #coal: how should the next government respond http://bit.ly/1Yn6QOE #auspol #australia

 

 

$horting the climate: fossil fuel finance report card 2016, Rainforest Action Network, BankTrack, Sierra Club, Oil Change International, June 2016. (Pdf)

This 58-page report reviews the top global private sector banks’ financing of the fossil fuel industry with the worst offenders being Deutsche Bank, Citigroup and JPMorgan Chase.

Tweet: New report by @RAN @BankTrack @PriceOfOil @SierraClub shows how banks are #shortingtheclimate w/ extreme fossil fuel https://t.co/bxKXOzbu8T