Indonesia, Vietnam, Bangladesh, and the Philippines have cancelled nearly 45 gigawatts of proposed coal power projects, a figure equal to more than one-quarter of the total installed capacity of Germany.
These are four critical emerging markets that were targeted for growth by the struggling coal industry, but a mixture of pandemic and financing-related problems caused them to pivot toward considering more cost-effective and environmentally-sound alternatives.
The year 2020 was as bad for coal as it was for health systems, and a new analysis by Global Energy Monitor (GEM) shows there will be no stimulus or v-shaped recovery for the black mineral.
After banks in South Korea and Japan, the major Asian coal investors announced new regulations on coal power development, plans that included 29 new plants in Bangladesh alone, for example, going up in smoke.
“We are reviewing how we can move from coal-based power plants,” said Bangladesh’s Energy Minister, Nasrul Hamid during a webinar in June 2020. He noted they were keeping three coal-fired plants that are under construction, but are aiming for 40GW of total generation capacity where only 5GW is coal based.
Thousands of miles to the east, Vietnam’s draft version of their Power Development Plan, to enter into force in 2022, included the canceling of 7 plants, and the icing of 6 already in progress, to be reviewed again in 2030.
By November, the Philippines had proposed a moratorium on new coal projects, which analysts from GEM estimate as totaling nearly 10GW.
Energy Secretary Alfonso G. Cusi noted that part of the moratorium was to urge 100% foreign ownership on geothermal exploration and projects. His nation already has the highest rate of renewable power in the Greater Southeast Asia region and they project solar power to surge to 35% of the energy mix by 2030.
“I am determined to accelerate the development of our country’s indigenous resources,” he said at a speech in Singapore during International Energy Week 2020. “We are also pushing for the transition from fossil fuel-based technology utilization to cleaner energy sources to ensure more sustainable growth for the country.”