The death of coal comes to Asia

Via the AFR:

Policy changes flagged by politicians and government departments in Vietnam, Indonesia and Bangladesh, and a full moratorium on new coal plants in the Philippines, may result in just 25 gigawatts (GW) of new coal-power projects getting built this year.

That is an 80 per cent reduction from the 125GW planned five years ago, according to a report from the Global Energy Monitor (GEM), a not-for-profit organisation funded by philanthropic organisations such as the US based Ford Foundation, the German Corporation for International Coopeeration and the European Climate Fund.

This is driven by the pure economics of alternative energies:

Australian energy costs compared

In five years it will be much cheaper:

Price of solar and batteries over next 5 years

If it goes the way we think it will, renewables plus full storage will be more than 60% cheaper than coal and gas:

Price of solar and batteries over next 5 years

Coal is dead. LNG is next.

Can I suggest that instead of bullshitting, policymakers start planning for major economic stimulus and economic restructuring for QLD and the Hunter.

David Llewellyn-Smith
Latest posts by David Llewellyn-Smith (see all)


      • Not true… those renewable costs above are an absolute fiction. When you compare the Dodger Banks project with Hinkley, you have to take into account that the wind turbines have to be built (and torn down, recycled) five times to match the life span of a single power plant. The costs are remarkably similar, the biggest difference is utilisation. Without baseload, you don’t have an electrical gird.

        The problem with nuclear political and not economic. In regards to the AFR diagrams, disagree with Chinese coal capex (very, very wrong) when it burns over half the worlds coal – and completely misses out India which is now number two and growing like a bastard!

        • Steve1036MEMBER

          I also work in the energy industry and none of what you said is true. Those renewables prices are legit, I see them every day. LCOE’s do factor in project life.

          • No you don’t… what you just said, and what North said, gave you both away… do you see where you fell down?

    • You should have got in a few years ago when the uranium stocks were at the rock bottom.

      It may not be too late, perhaps just yet, but the risks are clearly higher today.

      • TheLambKingMEMBER

        It may not be too late

        Yep, it is. The lag time to build and costs alone are killing nuclear. Take the $10bil and 10 years to build and instead invest the $1bil a year, and on spend it on a combo of solar, wind & batteries instead (increasing the ratio of batteries over time.) When you calculate the reducing costs of solar & batteries over the 10 years you end up with about double the ‘firmed’ capacity with about 10 times the generation capacity. But return on investment happens starts happening at the end of year 1 instead of at the end of year 10 – which just kills nuclear from an investment point of view.

        Nuclear is currently just another ‘stalling’ technique being used by fossil fuel companies so they can keep making money for the next 10 years.

      • I traded a bunch of uranium stocks back in 05.. PDN at 20c and sold at around $1. It went on to like $10 then crashed and burned. Haven’t touched the yellow stuff since 🙂

        • Miners are capital intensive businesses – you need to keep injecting your capital to explorations or your assets will deplete.

    • Unless it’s for Australia to nuclear arm itself against China,…… no.
      Nuclear power is a thoroughly bad economic choice and a poor environmental one too.

      • Ah, a common public misconception – dihydrogen monoxide sounds like a dangerous chemical.

        Unless you are one of the staunch believers of the bible, you must know that the earth was born billions of years ago. Most of the heat the earth had at the time has long been lost to the outer space. Then, where does the earth’s contemporary geothermal energy come from?

        It turned out that the earth has tons of radioactive elements that have been decaying all the time, generating heat along the way. This has been going on for billions of years, long before people came along. That is why the environmental background radiation is so high – much higher than any measurable effect next to a nuclear power plant. Then, some ingenious people came up with an idea in the middle of the 20th century that we may as well harvest this source of geothermal energy by gathering and concentrating the radioactive elements, which will decay anyway, and generate electricity in the process. It is akin to building a watermill to harvest a part of the gravitational energy of the flows of a river – the water in the river will flow downstream anyway, why not make use a part of the energy?

  1. Shades of MessinaMEMBER

    Now that all those plants have been built it looks the volumes required will go up ?.

    Certainly what the graphs suggest anyway.

    • TheLambKingMEMBER

      What is missing from those graphs is the decommissioning of coal plants going on at the same time.

    • MountainGuinMEMBER

      I think a degree of increase will occur. But the govts are also pushing for non coal generation so depending on coal running costs, the coal plants may see decreasing utilization over time.

      • Shades of MessinaMEMBER

        Sounds good but I just don’t see how a country like Vietnam can swing into renewables to any great extent.

        Land is bloody hard to find for scaled solar, the mountains are tricky for onshore wind and good luck finding anyone willing to invest in offshore wind with the South Sea drama.

        Looks like it will be coal and gas for a fair while to come.

        • Maybe they’ll trade manufactured goods for clean energy from Australia. There is room for balanced trade.

        • Just like with the CCP the VCP will just give orders that solar etc must be built, if they think it benefits them or Vietnam, I’d think

  2. With the adoption of electric cars demand for electricity will rise. Will this put coal back on the table

    • I was watching a video about electric cars. They truly leave Combustion Engines for dead.
      Comby Vans going Electric –

      Other then the obvious benefits of not needing petrol anymore, they need far less repair and maintenance. Toss a solar panel on your car and it can be charging while its parked. We need to get these electric cars going because Combustion Engines are dumb technology when you look at the details. Combustion is crap.

        • Well look at it in this way. ICE engine has no where to go, it can not become any better, only obsolete.
          Battery tech and Electrical engines are moving forward faster than ICE engine ever progressed.

          A Volkswagen ID.3 has a range of 550KM, coming to AU next year.
          That is similar range to a Toyota Hiace and a Subaru WRX.

          • bolstroodMEMBER

            In the process of transitioning all my 2stroke engines to Electric / Battery .
            Chainsaw, pole saw. whipper snipper, blower, hedge trimmer, as well as battery powered tyre inflator.
            Need shoulder replacement, can’t pull the starter cords. Other advantages, not having to work in petrol fumes, much quieter for the neighbours.Not having to keep petrol around the place.
            Will charge them off my solar panels.
            Looking forward to my next car being electric.

    • Electrification will continue and, taken together with the rising living standards of the third world, the demand for electricity will skyrocket.

      All these countries, Vietnam, Indonesia, Bangladesh, the Philippines, etc., lack large deserts like Straya. They also have large populations to support, meaning they need large farmland and tons of water. Nuclear is the source of highest energy density by far.

  3. A bit OTT. Burning chunks of dinosaur will remain a part of the global energy mix for some time to come, at least until the end of the useful life of existing generating assets whilst it remains economic to do so.

    Will any developed nation install new coal fired capacity, no of course not. Well maybe Australia but given how narrow our economy is and is getting, its debatable if we are developed.

  4. I thought nuclear was dead too, but after reading what Gates is up to, I’m not so sure.

    His nuclear design is pretty smart and much safer than old designs. It’s perfect for shipping, especially bulk carriers, and it’s also useful to work alongside renewables. They also burn the nuclear waste currently stored in Kentucky, as fuel.

    They are building test reactors right now.

    • Oh no, the nuclear waste stored in Paducah, KY, is for GLE and SLX, not for Bill Gates and his TerraPower.

    • “It’s perfect for shipping, especially bulk carriers,”
      This has been the case for a long time as proved by many Navy vessels. The problem is authorities get all upset about fissile material not under strict control and potentially getting into the wrong hands.

  5. Simple, non-rhetorical question: If coal isn’t cheaper, why are the Chinese still building new coal power stations?
    The Chinese are many things, but stupid isn’t one of them.

    • are making the mistake of assuming that intelligence has anything to do with a
      business decision. A “short-term” CEO will make a short-term decision for money purposes,
      it has nothing to do with being smart or intelligent.. rather the opposite for short term gain!

    • MountainGuinMEMBER

      China is the biggest producer of coal. So there would be national energy security arguments, supporting the regions arguments and maybe grid energy reliability arguments, especially for the energy intensive industries.

      Overall electricity production is China continues to grow rapidly so perhaps their renewable sector can only service some of this growth.

  6. This shows that while construction is coming down – they are still constructing new plants, presumably with an economic life of 40+ years (Bayswater / Liddell built early 80s and still going strong). Plus think of all the installed capacity of coal generation. These stations will need coal for decades.

    I will be dead before they stop shipping coal from the Port of Newcastle ….