Coal use today and most common tech types installedAs coal is often one of the cheapest and most secure means of obtaining electricity, it has been favored by many emerging economies such as China and India. In fact, the use of coal power in China has increased so much over the past three decades that it has become the largest producer of coal-fired power in the world. In 2019, China generated over 4,500 terawatt hours of electricity through coal burning, accounting for over half of total production worldwide. Subcritical and supercritical combustion types have historically been the most installed technologies in a coal power station. Subcritical was the first type of coal power generating process developed. However, since then more efficient means of combustion as well as carbon capture techniques have been introduced, with ultra-super being the preferred choice within the last 10 years.
Future investments and high public support in select countriesGlobal installed coal power capacity has risen to over 2.1 terawatts and is projected to peak around 2030. Many governments have introduced phase-out dates to be reached before mid-century to reduce their carbon footprint and mitigate climate change. Nevertheless, as of 2020 there were over 500 gigawatts worth of coal power plants in the pipeline. Russia, Malaysia, and India have recorded the greatest share of public support for coal expansion. More than half of the respective country’s residents were in favor of furthering coal use, despite concerns over its environmental impact.
Chinese banks such as ICBC are the greatest investment banks for coal companies. Of the five banks having invested the greatest amount in the past years, four were China-based enterprises.