Death of coal slightly exaggerated

Come 2100, I expect the world will still be using fossil fuels for around 70% of its energy needs.

19th January 2017: German court issues permit for Uniper’s Datteln 4 coal-fired power plant

The German Muenster district court on Thursday granted an emission-control permit to Datteln 4, a hard-coal fired power station under construction by utility Uniper that has been held up by an intense legal battle with environmentalists.

Uniper said it aims to begin supplying electricity and district heating from the 1,050 megawatts plant in western Germany in the first half of 2018.

Datteln 4 under construction image uniper

Datteln 4 under construction image uniper

25th January, 2017: Loy Yang B project approved

A major generator of Victoria’s coal-fired electricity is set to be expanded.

ENGIE has welcomed the Environment Protection Authority’s (EPA) recommended approach to granting statutory approval for the turbine upgrade project at the Loy Yang B power station. The approved project will see the retrofit of two turbines with a higher efficiency design to improve the station’s thermal efficiency and increase operating flexibility. The works will occur in 2019 and 2020 during planned outages.

February 1st, 2017: Japanese government planning to build 45 new coal fired power stations to diversify supply

The Japanese government is moving ahead with its plans to build up to 45 new coal fired power stations. The power plants will utilise high energy, low emissions (HELE) technology that use high-quality black coal. Japan is the largest overseas market for Australian coal producers, taking more than a third of all exports. 

February 3rd, 2017: German coal, gas plant output at 5-year high in January

  • January average coal output at 17.3 GW, highest since Feb 2012 
  • Coal, gas ramped up to offset nuclear outages, low wind, demand gains  
  • Day-ahead power average at 59-month high, spot spikes to 2008-high 

German coal and gas-fired power plant output in January rose to its highest in almost five years as cold weather boosted demand while below average wind and record-low winter nuclear availability reduced supply.

February 3rd, 2017: GE helping modernise Serbia’s largest coal-fired power plant

GE’s Power Services will complete the modernisation of Elektro Privreda Srbije’s (EPS) TPP Nikola Tesla, the largest coal-fired power plant in Serbia. 

The power plant features two, 210 MW LMZ steam turbines and four (A3-A6), 308 MW GE units. GE will provide a steam turbine full shaft line retrofit solution for high-pressure, intermediate-pressure and low-pressure turbine modules, as well as a new turbine governing controller system. In addition to the controller, the project includes GE’s advanced 3-D blades, new rotors, rotary blades, stationary blades, inner and outer casings and other associated parts. As part of the agreement, GE will commission a WT23S-106 generator unit – the largest ever installed in Serbia – at the TPP Nikola Tesla B2 site to help improve availability and reliability of the plant. …….. The operating life of the steam turbine unit – an estimated 250 000 working hours – will be extended for an additional 100 000 operating hours, and the maintenance intervals between major overhauls will be extended to nearly 10 years.



One Response to “Death of coal slightly exaggerated”

  1. Edward Says:

    I am sorry, but I beg to differ. Yes, there is a upswing in electricity generation from coal, especially here in Germany. But that is actually just temporary, and that is not my opinion, but ask the people running those plants, they will tell you so.

    I was born and raised next to the lignite surface mine and 5GW of coal power plants of RWE. Went on to study to become a M.Sc. in Energy Engineering, specializing in Power Plant Technology. Just so you know my background.

    The Datteln plant is a pretty weird example to take for that “renaissance” of coal. If you do, then only because it might be the last coal fired plant to ever be commissioned in Germany. It is under construction for over 10 years and is already a huge loss for all involved parties and brought some communities that are investors near bancrupcy. Even if that plant will (!) ever start up, its an example of the incredible risks that are involved in the construction of power plants of that size in the current market rather than anything else. You can argue if that is caused by environmentalists or left-wing treehuggers, whatever you like, but its reality in Germany for 10 years now. It all started with dubious permission in the land development plan the city that in the end were declared illegal by the German Federal Constitutional Court.

    But speaking of permissions: The owner of the largest German lignite surface mine, RWE, just recently declared, that they will not exhaust the permission and will stop the mine way sooner than expected. 10 years ago they were still actively searching to expand the permission. RWE by the way, stopped paying a dividend for their shareholders for the first time in 60 years and will continue to do so this year, because of a 6 billion (!) deficit. The biggest shareholders are again the communities, relying on that cash dividend for decades, struggling now to replace it somehow.

    So, to make a long story short, the death of coal sure feels pretty real here. And there is actually not a sign that anything will chance in the near future.

    All that mentioned above hase to be seen in the light of a European Emission Trading System that is still completely failing. CO2 Allowances just dropped to record-low prices, again. But you know what? It’s not going away, even if the cap is way to high, there is one. Either the EU will change the system, or at some point, the cap will reached by itself. Its only avoidable if we have no growth in the EU anymore. Germany has already 30% renewables of the toal electricity production. 2100? Which plants will be still running by then? I cannot speak for Australia, China etc. But in Germany, coal will have a share so small in 2100, it will be irrelevant.

    By the way, you tagged the post with “Clean Coal”. There is nothing clean about coal in Germany. No. 2 to 5 of the power plants with the highest CO2 emissions in Europe are located in Germany, in relative terms (CO2/kWh), its rank 3 to 7. And if you think global warming is bullshit, there is always something for you, like Nitrous Oxides, CO, SOx, Uranium… Pick one, we are providing all these for all of Europe.

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