Boom and Bust Coal 2022

The world has more than 2,400 coal-fired power plants, for a total capacity of nearly 2,100 gigawatts (GW). An additional 176GW of coal capacity is under construction at more than 189 plants. A further additional 280GW is planned at 296 plants, equivalent to the current operating fleets of the United States and Japan combined.

In 2021, 45GW of capacity was added (in 15 countries), and 26.8GW was retired, causing a net increase in the global coal fleet of 18.2GW.

China’s surge in new coal plants (25.2GW) almost offset all coal plant retirements in the rest of the world (25.6GW), and accounted for 56% of global additions (i.e. 25.2/45 = 0.56). Construction started on 33GW of new coal power plants, almost three times as much as the rest of the world put together, and equivalent to 73% of global additions in 2021.

The amount of electricity generated from coal rose by 9% in 2021 to a record high.

Only 180GW of existing coal capacity in the OECD, or a little more than a third, is scheduled to close by 2030. Less than 10% of non-OECD coal capacity is scheduled to close by 2050.