Hotspot mapClick on a country to see how large its coal fleet will be if all planned and announced units are built. For more information please explore the 'Capacity Explorer' and 'Emissions Calculator' tabs
Capacity data is sourced from the “Global Coal Plant Tracker” by Global Energy Monitor, version January 2019. We use the following categories to aggregate the data (categories on the right are from the Global Coal Plant Tracker:
- Current = Operating + Construction
- Planned = Planned
- Announced = Announced Please visit the Global Energy Monitor website for further details about the categories.
To estimate the CO~2~ emissions from the existing and planned coal-fired capacity, we use the following formula:
\[ AnnualCO_2 (Mt) = capacity × capacity factor × heat rate × emission factor × Φ \] where Φ represents a unit conversion factor (3.97347 x 10-9) which basically represents 8760 hours per year (to calculate the annual electricity output) divided by 2202.31 lb/tonne (to calculate the emissions in the standard tonnes unit).
The capacity describes the amount of power a plant can produce and is measured in Megawatt (MW). For each plant in the database, the capacity is given, ranging from 0 to 8000 MW. Information on the capacity is obtained from the Global Coal Plant Tracker database. Additional information used to classify the units include the current status of the plant (‘Operating’, ‘Under construction’, ‘Planned’ and ‘Announced’) and the combustion technology used (‘Supercritical’, ‘Ultra supercritical’, ‘Subcritical’). For more information on the difference between the different combustion technologies read this article.
To convert the capacity into the energy generated by the unit, we multiply the capacity with the capacity factor and the number of hours in the year (8760). This represents the energy generated by the unit in a year.
The heat rate describes how efficiently a plant converts energy from coal into electricity and it is usually expressed as the amount of energy used by a power plant to generate one kilowatt hour (kWh) of electricity. This rate is derived by comparing the quantity of energy contained in coal as it enters the plant site to the quantity of energy contained in the electricity that exits the plant side into the grid. The heat rate in our analysis depends on factors like the type of combustion technology, the type of coal and the size of the plant (Sargent & Lundy, 2009).
The emissions factor refers to the average amount of CO~2~ emissions resulting of burning coal to produce a certain quantity of energy. For our analysis, we use emissions factors based on the International Energy Agency (B.D. Hong and E. R. Slatick, 1994) for the different type of coal that are used in each power plant included in the Global Coal Plant Tracker database:
- Lignite: 0.0929 kg CO2/MJ
- Subbituminous coal: 0.0911 kg CO2/MJ
- Bituminous coal: 0.0882 kg CO2/MJ
- Anthracite: 0.0977 kg CO2/MJ
Based on the formula above, we allow the users to select the capacity factor and lifetime of the units, and then present the resulting emissions.
In order to limit warming to 1.5°C, as governments agreed by becoming part of the Paris Climate Agreement, coal - the most polluting fossil fuel - needs to go from the world's electricity generation by 2040. Developed countries need to get their act together even sooner than that - by 2030. This means that no new coal power plants should be built at all.
So what is the lowdown on coal in your country?
The Lowdown shows you how much coal capacity a country has at the moment, and how much is under construction already as what further additions are planned or announced. It also shows you the amount of carbon pollution from a country’s operating coal power plants, as well as future emissions from those under construction, planned and announced.
This tool is hosted by the Climate Policy Team at Climate Analytics as part of our work on providing scientific evidence in support of discussions on coal phase-out as part of global commitment enshrined in the Paris Agreement. More information can be found at this link:
The Policy Team assesses the effectiveness of international strategies and national climate policies, including low-carbon development plans, in meeting global climate goals and reducing greenhouse gas emissions whilst achieving sustainable development goals.
The Lowdown is based on data from the open source database “Global Coal Plant Tracker” by Global Energy Monitor, version July 2019. We thank the Global Energy Monitor for their work on keeping their coal power plant data up to date.
For further details on our studies, please contact:
Climate Policy Analyst
Climate Policy Team