China moves to freeze new coal plants until 2018: China’s next five-year plan, which is due to be released soon, is expected to announce a moratorium on new coal plants until the start of 2018. While the moratorium will be reviewed in 2018, it is expected it will be extended. With about one-quarter of wind generation wasted in 2016 and the capacity-factor of coal plants falling due to slowing power-demand growth, the freeze is intended to prevent over-investment in coal plants and ensure greater utilisation of renewable generation. (Australian Financial Review)
Doubts raised about owner of Rio Tinto $1 Australian mine: TerraCom, the company which bought Rio Tinto’s Blair Athol mine in Queensland for $1, has been losing money and has debts of US$114 million. As part of the deal Rio Tinto has agreed to pay TerraCom US$61 million to cover rehabilitation liabilities but analysts estimate it may cost three to four times that. Environmental groups have called on the Queensland Government to block the sale. (ABC News)
South Africa’s proposed coal plants face challenges: Later this month the South African Department of Energy plans to announce which proposed coal plants have been selected through its Independent Power Producers (IPP) programme. However, only two companies submitted bids. One is the 600 megawatt (MW) Thabametsi project proposed by a joint venture between Marubeni, Kepco and Exxaro Resources, which is already subject to a legal challenge. (City Press)
France moves to phase out coal: An advisory committee to French Environment Minister Segolene Royal has recommended the country’s existing 3000 megawatts (MW) of coal-fired power should close. The committee proposed three options, including a tax on coal-fired generation or tighter carbon dioxide emission standards. Royal said she would accept the proposal to tax coal generation, with the details to be finalised later this month and included in the budget law for adoption in November. (Reuters)
Panel finds Indian legal agency head met privately with accused in ‘Coalscam’: A panel appointed by the Supreme Court has concluded former Central Bureau of Investigation director Ranjit Sinha met with representatives of some of those accused in the scandal over the allocation of coal blocks. India’s Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi told the court “inquiries might have been influenced after such meetings.” The court has reserved its decision on whether to make the report public and whether the panel should be provided with access to preliminary reports submitted by those Sinha met. (Economic Times, Indian Express)
“Why allow more coal plants? Why commit to a form of energy that has no future?”
said Gina Lopez, Secretary of the Environment and Natural Resources in the Philippines.