India’s thermal coal peak is within sight
On current trends India’s peak thermal coal demand may occur within a decade, writes Tim Buckley of the Institute for Energy Economics & Financial Analysis in RenewEconomy.
New global survey reveals that everyone loves green energy and hates coal
A global survey of 26,000 people across 13 countries reveals high levels of support for a coal phase-out and a transition to clean energy, writes David Roberts at Vox.
The huge health toll of mountaintop removal mining
“We found that as the levels of mining [coal in Appalachia] go up, the health impacts become increasingly more pronounced,” states Michael Hendryx, Professor of Environmental and Occupational Health at Indiana University, in an interview in Yale 360.
Hungarian court sets plant permit aside
The Administrative Court of Eger in Hungary has set aside the environmental license for a proposed 500 megawatt (MW) lignite unit at the existing Matra plant. The court said inadequate definition in the assessment study of the area to be affected by the proposed lignite plant meant the review needed to be redone. The German utility RWE, which is the majority owner of the existing plant, is attempting to sell its stake on the project. However, the court ruling raises doubt about whether the company or potential buyers will persist with the plan for the new unit. (Vilaggazdasag [in Hungarian], CoalSwarm)
Countries launch coal-free power coalition: Twenty countries have launched a coalition to accelerate the global phase-out of existing coal plants and a moratorium on new coal plants without carbon capture and storage. The Powering Past Coal Alliance, promoted by the UK and Canada, aims to have 50 members by the next high-level UN climate change conference in Poland in December 2018. (Business Green, Powering Past Coal Alliance)
Indian minister vows to cover coal trucks and trains: In response to growing controversy over coal dust and air pollution, India’s Minister for Railways and Coal, Piyush Goyal, proclaimed that “we will design a covering over every truck and railway wagon that transports coal.” Previously Goyal had stated only that he had asked government officials to “explore the option” of covering rail wagons. However, he has not yet specified a timetable for implementing the change. (Economic Times)
Despite Indian pollution crisis, regulator pushes for delay: Despite the recent extreme air pollution crisis, the Central Electricity Authority (CEA) has proposed a five-year extension of the December 2017 deadline for coal plants to comply with new pollution standards. Private power producers, as well as publicly owned NTPC, are seeking taxpayer funding for plant upgrades or regulatory changes to pass the costs on to consumers. The Centre for Science and Environment argues that despite the power sector being given two years to comply with the new standards, most have not even begun planning for upgrades. (Reuters, Centre for Science and Environment)
Alleged bribe attempt referred to South African Parliament: A key official assisting South Africa’s parliamentary inquiry into the “state capture” of Eskom has filed an affidavit with the National Assembly Speaker alleging he was offered a blank cheque by the State Security Minister, Bongani Bongo. The affidavit by Advocate Ntuthuzelo Vanara, who is leading the inquiry, has been referred to the South African Parliament’s joint ethics committee for investigation. Bongo declined to confirm or deny the allegation. (BusinessDay, Fin24)
CEO arrested over Mongolian coal loan: The Chairman and CEO of SouthGobi Resources, Mr Aminbuhe, was arrested in China on October 11 “as a suspect in a fraudulent loan case,” according to the company. SouthGobi Resources, which is listed on the Toronto and Hong Kong stock exchanges, owns and operates the Ovoot Tolgoi mine in Mongolia, which exports about 4 million tonnes of metallurgical coal each year to China. The company’s two largest shareholders are China Cinda Asset Management Corporation and China Investment Corporation, both Chinese state-owned companies. (South China Morning Post, Bloomberg)
Rotterdam Council votes to end coal port by 2030: Rotterdam City Council has voted to end the storage and transport of coal through the Port of Rotterdam by 2030 and voted to oppose the proposed 25-year renewal of the lease for the port. However, the decision on the lease renewal is the responsibility of the Port of Rotterdam Authority, which wants to keep the port open indefinitely. Rotterdam Port is the largest coal port in Western Europe, with 15 per cent of its 31 million tonnes a year destined for coal plants in the Netherlands and the remainder transhipped to Germany. (Dutch News.nl, Port of Rotterdam Authority)
“The coal industry simply has to go if we are to meet climate targets. There is no such thing as clean coal but there are clean and profitable alternatives like solar and wind,”
said Jan Erik Saugestad, the CEO Storebrand Asset Management, Noway’s largest private pension fund company.
Colombia: New Aguadulce terminal increases access for exporters to the Pacific market.
Germany: Coalition talks collapse as free-market party walks out over coal and immigration issues.
India: Ministry of Environment officials approve expansion of Maharashtra mine despite importance of forested area for tigers.
New Zealand: Bathurst Resources fined NZ$10,500 (US$7150) for 14 unauthorised mine discharges into waterways.
Serbia: Work begins on Kostolac B plant despite inadequate pollution controls or assessment of mine impacts.
US: Plan to close loss-making 11-year-old Hardin plant in Montana in early 2018.
US: Imprisoned Kentucky MP and ex-coal company owner set to face wire fraud charges.
Storebrand ditches 10 coal investments: The largest Norwegian private pension fund, Storebrand, has sold shareholdings in 10 major coal companies including Eskom from South Africa, RWE and E.ON’s Uniper from Germany, and Kyushu Electric Power from Japan. Under the company’s revised investment criteria, Storebrand will no longer invest in companies with more than 1000 MW of new coal plants under construction or power companies with high levels of coal generation in their power supply mix. (Reuters, Storebrand)
Eskom urged to shut old plants, shelve Kusile expansion: An economic assessment by Meridian Economics of Eskom’s deteriorating financial position has recommended that the utility close three of its older coal plants early, suspend the completion of two units at the Kusile plant and expand renewable supply. Eskom has rejected the proposal to stop construction of the Kusile plant. Silas Zimu, an energy adviser to President Jacob Zuma, told an energy conference Eskom is “going down and under very, very fast”. (BusinessLive, Fin24)
Lloyds flags coal divestments in 2018: In April 2018 Lloyds, a major specialist insurance company, will implement a new coal company exclusion policy which it states will affect about 75 per cent of the assets in its central investment fund. The company has yet to finalise the full details of the divestment criteria. Unfriend Coal estimates that 15 insurance companies are divesting an estimated US$20 billion in coal stocks and bonds. Some companies are also refusing to underwrite coal projects. (Insurance Business, Unfriend Coal)
Questions over Adani meeting after import tax charges dropped: Four days after India’s Directorate of Revenue Intelligence’s (DRI) adjudicating authority, under K.V.S. Singh, dropped all charges against Adani group companies for alleged over-invoicing the costs of imported coal and equipment, Gautam Adani met the Modi Government’s Revenue Secretary, Hasmukh Adhia. Neither Adani nor Adhia responded to questions on whether the DRI charges were discussed. Adhia, who is now Finance Secretary, did not respond to questions on whether the Ministry of Finance will appeal Singh’s decision. (The Wire)
Solar powers up in China and Mexico: Bloomberg New Energy Finance estimates that China will install an 54,000 MW of solar this year, far higher than its original estimate of 30,000 MW. One analyst notes that China has raised its 2018 target from 40,000 MW to 55,000 MW. The International Energy Agency, which has a long history of underestimating the growth of renewables, last week estimated that Chinese solar installations in 2018 would fall to just 29,000 MW. A solar power reverse auction in Mexico has set a new world low price of 1.77 US cents per kilowatt hour, representing an 80 per cent fall in prices from solar auctions over four years. (Bloomberg, RenewEconomy)
Destruction of the Highveld: Part 2 – Burning Coal, groundWork, November 2017. (Pdf)
This 213-page report documents the pollution impacts on the Mpumalanga Highveld caused in particular by Eskom’s cluster of 11 power stations and Sasol’s coal-to-oil plant.