April 16, 2015


Indonesia Stakes its Future on Coal

“In 2014, for the first time in 17 years, Indonesia’s coal production declined. After an average annual increase in production of 14% per year over the past decade, last year’s production fell by 39 million tonnes, or 8% compared to 2013. This decrease was significant, equivalent to the cessation of operations of the third largest mining company in Indonesia … Yet instead of addressing these issues [the falling demand in China and health impacts in Indonesia’s mining areas], Indonesia’s new President Joko Widodo is staking the country’s future on a massive increase in coal-fired generating capacity,” writes Pius Ginting from WALHI/Friends of the Earth Indonesia.

Suggested Tweet: #Indonesia Stakes its Future on #Coal writes @piusginting from @walhinasional http://bit.ly/1IK9Hui

You Can’t Say Too Much About India’s Ambitious Solar Plan

“India’s decision to allow US dollar-based investment in solar energy could well be a game-changer for global energy markets and investors alike … If India embraces solar to the extent that Goyal proposes — and there’s no reason to believe it won’t — we don’t have to look any further than this extremely ambitious new target for India to install 100 gigawatts (GW) of affordable solar-supplied electricity by 2022 … The benefits will be numerous, and one result will be less demand for seaborne coal,” writes Tim Buckley from the Institute for Energy Economics & Financial Analysis.

Suggested Tweet: #India’s #solar plan could be a game-changer for global #coal markets writes Tim Buckley http://bit.ly/1CGF9Tc @ieefa_institute


Judge blocks expansion of US mine, for now

A federal judge has overturned a plan allowing the expansion of the Navajo mine in northern New Mexico and ordered mining cease in the expansion area. In March Judge John L. Kane ruled that the approval in 2012 by the Office of Surface Mining (OSM), a branch of the US Government’s Department of Interior, breached the National Environmental Policy Act by failing to consider the impacts of mercury and other coal combustion pollution. The Navajo mine is the sole supplier for the adjoining Four Corners Power Plant. OSM is now required to reconsider the impacts of the proposed expansion. (Center for Biological Diversity)

Suggested Tweet: Judge blocks expansion of Navajo #coal mine, New Mexico over failure to consider #mercury & other #pollution http://bit.ly/1PoeKm7

Coal is sort of the weak gazelle in the fossil fuel herd,”

writes Tate Williams in Inside Philanthropy.

top news

Mass protest against proposed Chinese coal plant: Ten thousand people turned out to protest against the proposed construction by Shenzhen Energy (SEC) of a new coal-fired power station at Heyuan in northeastern Guangdong province. In front of the Heyuan city government offices the protesters chanted “give me back my blue sky.” The city already has one coal plant operated by an SEC joint venture. SEC, in which the Shenzhen city government is a major shareholder, was due to begin construction of the plant this year. However, Huang Jianzhong, the deputy party secretary of Heyuan, told the crowd that the project was only in the preliminary study stage. (South China Morning Post)

New Delhi air plan to cut coal plant capacity: Delhi National Capital Region and the surrounding states of Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan have agreed to negotiate a plan by July aimed at reducing New Delhi’s extreme air pollution levels. The initial measures agreed to include the closure of three 75 MW coal units at the National Thermal Power Corporation’s Badarpur power plant, which date back to the early 1970’s, and upgrading of the other two 210 MW units. The agreement also includes the conversion to gas of 18 coal units in the adjoining industrial centre of Ghaziabad in Uttar Pradesh state. (Economic Times)

Coal plant closures push US greenhouse gas emissions down: Bloomberg New Energy Finance says the announced closure of 23,000 MW of coal plants this year could see US greenhouse gas emissions fall to 15 per cent lower than 2005 levels. Solar and wind capacity account for the bulk of new capacity. (Bloomberg New Energy Finance)
China coal cap could save thousands of lives: A study by the Natural Resources Defense Council says that if China capped coal consumption at 4.1 billion tonnes a year by 2020, about 89,000 lives and US$11.4 billion a year would be saved. The study models the lower coal cap compared to the business as usual scenario of consumption peaking at 4.8 billion tonnes a year. Chinese coal consumption was about 3.9 billion tonnes in 2014 and, contrary to most expectations, may have already peaked. (Bloomberg, NRDC)

Japan’s coal plant plans grow despite pollution toll: New data compiled by the Japanese environmental group, Kiko Network, says there are now 43 proposed new coal plants in Japan with a combined capacity of over 21,000 megawatts (MW). If built, the plants would undermine Japan’s ability to meet its target of 80 per cent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. The group also found that the country’s existing fleet of coal plants included a number of old, inefficient and highly-polluting plants. (Kiko Network, CoalSwarm)

Indonesian politician arrested on corruption charges: Indonesia’s Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) has arrested Adriansyah, a South Kalimantan Member of Parliament from the ruling Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle. KPK allege that Andrew Hidayat, a director of the coal mining company Mitra Maju Sukses who was also arrested, had bribed Adriansyah in order to gain a mining concession when he was the head of the Tanah Laut district in South Kalimantan. (Jakarta Globe, Jakarta Post)

“The issue involved in the hounding of Greenpeace [in India] is not just the imposition of curbs on an NGO’s conduct and advocacy positions. It has wider implications for individual freedoms, including freedom of expression, guaranteed by the Constitution … There are many perspectives about development and everybody has the right to present his or her views before the people and generate a debate on them. It is such debates that give legitimacy to policies. To deny that right and to persecute people for dissent and disagreement is to be anti-democratic and authoritarian,”

states an editorial in the Deccan Herald lambasting the Modi government for freezing the bank accounts of Greenpeace India.


China: Shipment of coal from North Korea rejected for high mercury content.

Myanmar: Toyo-Thai Corporation signs MOU for 640 MW coal plant in Ye township.

Scotland: Cruise ship terminal proposed for decommissioned Cockenzie power station site.
US: Bid to replace retired San Juan Generating Station units with new coal plant rejected.

US: Fifteen houses evacuated due to subsidence caused by abandoned Illinois mine.

US: Company behind foundering proposed Pacific coal ports renamed Lighthouse Resources.

“There’s a myth among opponents of renewable energy that you need 100 percent backup spinning all the time, and it’s utter nonsense. Any grid needs flexibility. You can have a nuclear plant shut down by jellyfish or a coal plant closed because of a freeze and you can’t shovel in supplies fast enough,”

said Michael Liebreich, founder of Bloomberg New Energy Finance.

companies + markets

Norwegian opposition pushes for divestment: The minority Norwegian government has restated its opposition to requiring the US$882 billion Government Pension Fund Global to divest from fossil fuel companies. However, six parties – which control a majority in the parliament – are seeking to reach agreement over further divestment from coal companies. Some of the parties support total divestment from companies with coal interests while others prefer to only exclude pure-play coal companies. (Norwegian Ministry of Finance, Wall Street Journal)

Indian joint venture losing on Mozambique mine: International Coal Ventures Limited (ICVL) and its joint venture partner Tata Steel have been losing US$7.5 million a month on the Benga mine. ICVL, a consortium of five Indian government-owned companies, bought Rio Tinto’s 65 per cent stake in the project in July 2014 for US$50 million and took control of the project in October 2014. Tata Steel holds the remaining 35 per cent stake in the project. With transport and loading costs of US$50 per tonne, only metallurgical coal is being exported. (Financial Express)
China’s coal imports and production keep falling: The latest Chinese Customs data reveals that Chinese coal imports fell by 42 per cent – equal to 35 million tonnes – in the first three months of 2015 compared to the same period of 2014. The China National Coal Association has reported that domestic coal sales fell by 4.7 per cent in the first quarter compared to the same period in 2014. (Guardian, Xinhua)

Indonesian coal output falls: The Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources says Indonesian coal production fell by 21 per cent in the first three months of 2015 compared to the first quarter of 2014. Both the ministry and the Indonesian Coal Mining Association attribute the bulk of the fall to the declining export market price. While the government has previously set a 2015 target of 425 million tonnes for export, increasing the target to 455 million tonnes has been mooted to reach budget targets for tax income. (Jakarta Post)


resources                      take action

North American coal industry: Coal pain becoming more acute, UBS, April 13, 2015. (Pdf)

In this detailed report UBS reviews the declining prospects for the US coal industry and provides a detailed company-by-company breakdown of the impacts of declining exports and domestic coal plant retirements.

Coal Dinosaurs on Life Support, Greenpeace Bulgaria, March 2015. (Pdf)

This executive summary provides a brief overview of financial concessions which prop up Bulgaria’s aging and highly polluting coal power plants and mines. The full report is only available in Bulgarian.

Chuitna - More Than Salmon On The Line Trailer, Balance Media, March 2015. (Video)

This video trailer, which runs for just under three minutes, gives a great overview of the campaign against the proposed Chuitna mine in Alaska. The full-length feature film is due to be released online in the next few months.

Keep 318 million tonnes of coal in the ground!

The US Forest Service has proposed a legal loophole that would allow Arch Coal and another company to access about 7700 hectares of public road-less forest in Colorado. You can send a letter to the US Forest Service via the Sierra Club’s website here.

CoalWire is a weekly bulletin of coal-related news published by CoalSwarm. Please send material which you think should be included or suggestions for features to editor@coalwire.org CoalWire is archived at www.coalwire.org

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