June 19, 2014

CoalWire survey

Thank you to those who filled out the CoalWire Survey. A short summary of the key points will be included in a future edition of CoalWire once we have had time to analyse the results. Thank you.

The ADB's Dirty Little Coal Secret

“Lurking beneath the Asian Development Bank (ADB)'s clean energy exterior is a dirty secret: despite their promises to bring clean energy in the Asia-Pacific region, ADB continues to be a supporter of dirty coal projects overseas. This week, the ADB is hosting the Asia Clean Energy Forum at its headquarters in the Philippines. While the Bank is sure to talk about its investments in clean energy in the Asia-Pacific region, they will, unsurprisingly, fail to mention that while the rest of the multilateral community actively moves away from coal finance, they continue full steam ahead," write Justin Guay from the Sierra Club and Aviva Imhof from The Sunrise Project.

Suggested Tweet: @ADB_HQ is having a big clean energy pow wow in Manila. But it's got a dirty little secret: It still funds #coal http://huff.to/1r2Rqgh

Coal is not making a comeback in Germany

“Is Germany building new coal plants to replace nuclear despite the country’s green ambitions? Many observers conclude so. But an in-depth look reveals that the growth of renewables has more than replaced nuclear power over the past decade. Coal is not making a comeback in Germany. However, German policymakers should reduce the country’s coal dependency sooner than scheduled,” write Arne Jungjohann and Craig Morris. (Jungjohann and Morris are authors of the report The German Coal Conundrum listed in the Resources section below).

Suggested Tweet: #Coal is not making a comeback in #Germany. http://bit.ly/1vK6VMK


Legal challenge stalls winter forest clearing for Australian mine

Last-minute legal action by the Maules Creek Community Council (MCCC) has forced Whitehaven Coal to cease clearing part of a forest for its proposed Maules Creek mine. With the blockade of the mine works continuing, the MCCC sought an injunction from the Land and Environment Court arguing that the company was not permitted to clear the forest during the winter hibernation period of wildlife. Just before the judgement was handed down, Whitehaven volunteered to cease clearing the forest until a full hearing of the case in September. MCCC spokesperson Phil Laird described the decision as a “huge relief”. (Maules Creek Community Council, ABC)

top news

Indian Intelligence Bureau spooked by anti-coal activism: A 21-page Intelligence Bureau (IB) memo states that anti-coal activism by groups such as Greenpeace India “has started spawning mass-based movements against development projects and is assessed as posing a threat to national economic security.” Greenpeace has rejected the IB’s claims. However, the IB has advised the government to cancel Greenpeace’s registration under the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA) registration, audit it for tax compliance and include its international affiliates on a watch list. (Intelligence Bureau, Greenpeace India, Indian Express)

UK Coal withdraws mine application: Residents of the village of Whittonstall have won a four-year campaign against a proposal by UK Coal for a 2 million tonne coal mine. A special meeting of Northumberland County Council’s planning committee, which had been scheduled to decide on the application this week, was cancelled after the financially troubled company withdrew its application. Campaigner Val Barnes welcomed the decision: “Finally, tonight, we have seen all of our hard work pay off.” (The Journal)

Australian coal mine hits legal hurdle: A court has ruled that the Wallarah 2 coal mine proposed by Kores Australia cannot be approved by the state government until the New South Wales Aboriginal Land Council has granted consent for access to its land. A damning review of the Department of Planning’s economic assessment of the project has also prompted the New South Wales government to require independent economic assessment of future mining proposals. (Darkinjung Local Aboriginal Land Council, Newcastle Herald)
Proposed Alaskan mine gains air permit but challenges remain: Despite approximately three-quarters of the public comments opposing the proposed Wishbone Hill Coal Mine, the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation has granted an air quality permit to Usibelli Coal Mine Inc. Despite the approval, the permit is subject to appeal and the company has yet to gain a surface mining permit for the thermal coal project. (Anchorage Daily News)

South African President promotes fast track for new coal: In his State of the Nation Address, South African President Jacob Zuma announced that the government plans to accelerate the construction of the Medupi coal-fired station and fast-track the proposed Coal-3 plant. (The Presidency of the Republic of South Africa)

“I don't believe that shedding Greenpeace off, does success or credit to us as an open and liberal democracy … having contradictions, complexities and conflicts are essential elements of economic growth,”

said former Indian environment minister Jairam Ramesh.


Australia: Environment minister delays decision on Adani’s Galilee Basin project until August 1.
Bangladesh: Japan International Cooperation Agency loans US$450 million for 1200 MW Mataburi plant.
Mozambique: Coal India contemplates buying a majority stake in the troubled Sena railway.
Philippines: Religious leaders seek court order to block a new coal power station.
UK: Welsh council rejects coal drilling plan over landslip risk to villages.
US: Over two-thirds support the US EPA’s new power plant rules while only 29% oppose them.

companies + markets

Indian private power producers demand changes to make projects viable: The Association of Power Producers, a lobby group for private power generators, wants the Ministry of Power to water down requirements for bidders on two proposed 4000 MW ‘ultra mega’ power projects in Tamil Nadu and Odisha. Despite easing bidding requirements last year, six of the nine companies – Adani , CLP, GMR, Jindal Steel & Power, JSW Energy and Tata Power – have stated “it would be extremely difficult to further participate in the bidding process” unless further changes are made. (Moneycontrol)

New Indian Ministers seek increased coal for power stations: The new national Minister for Power, Coal and New & Renewable Energy, Piyush Goyal, convened a meeting of 150 representatives from private power producers and government coal and railway agencies to ensure increased supply and quality of coal for power stations. The Minister for Railways, DV Sadananda Gowda, has stated that the Ministry of Coal has “agreed to provide funds for the construction of special coal corridors.” (Economic Times, Economic Times)
Mozambique military takes a stakes in coal project: A company owned by the Mozambican Defence Ministry, Monte Binga, has acquired a 10 per cent stake in a consortium investigating a new coal mine at Marara in Tete province. The Chinese company Kingho Investment holds an 80 per cent stake in the consortium. Coal exports from existing Rio Tinto and Vale mines in Tete province have been intermittently disrupted by protests by displaced residents and attacks on the railway by former civil war combatants. (AllAfrica.com)

Reports that Russian banks may bail out Mechel: Three Russian government-owned banks – OAO Gazprombank, OAO Sberbank and VTB – are reportedly considering providing a US$1 billion bridging loan to the debt-laden Mechel as part of a major restructuring package. Mechel, Russia’s largest metallurgical coal producer, has over US$1 billion in debt which was due to be repaid in mid-May. (Bloomberg)

“Although our country's energy development has achieved great successes, we are facing challenges including huge demand pressures, supply restraints, serious environmental losses caused by the production and consumption of energy and technological backwardness,”

said China’s President Xi Jinping, according to the Xinhua news agency.

resources                      take action

Seeing through the dust: Coal in the Hunter Valley economy, Australia Institute, June 13, 2014.
This report details the results of an opinion survey of Hunter Valley residents showing opposition to the expansion of the coal industry and documents how reduced coal mining would have little impact on the regional economy.
The German Coal Conundrum: The status of coal power in Germany’s energy transition, Heinrich Boell Foundation, June 2014. (Pdf)
This report presents an overview of coal in the German electricity market, challenges the over-hyping of a coal ‘renaissance” and looks at what it would take to rapidly phase out coal.
Electricity production from solar and wind in Germany in 2014, Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems, June 11, 2014. (Pdf)

This report has all the data you will need on recent trends on the impacts of renewables in eating into the production of electricity from coal, gas and nuclear plants. Very useful statistics for the next time someone says ‘but German coal consumption is rising rapidly’.

BP Statistical Review of World Energy June 2014, BP, June 2014. (Large pdf)

BP’s annual overview of global energy trends with a brief section (pages 30-34) on coal. A spreadsheet with all the data, including coal prices and production since 1981, is here.

“Aggressive Chinese bidding saps CFR China thermal coal prices; CIF ARA prices slump under pressure”, Platts CoalWatch, June 2014. (5 minute video)

Platts reviews some of the key factors pushing thermal coal prices down. Well worth watching.

Congratulate the Royal Bank of Scotland for dumping Abbott Point

In response to a brief campaign by an international coalition of NGO’s the Royal Bank of Scotland has stated that it will not finance the proposed expansion of the Abbot Point coal terminal adjoining the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area. The response of the NGOs to the decision is here.

Here’s an opportunity for a positive action:

If you are on Twitter: Suggested Tweet: Thank you @RBSGroup! http://bit.ly/1niIO2A pic.twitter.com/0ZYhE9YGgb

If you are on Facebook: Post a thank-you note on their Facebook page which is 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

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