October 9, 2014

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Is the Boundary Dam CCS plant in Canada really a success story?

“When global movers and shakers in the carbon capture and storage (CCS) world gathered for the grand opening of the 110 megawatt (MW) Boundary Dam CCS power station in Saskatchewan Canada, they were in a celebratory mood … But despite all the backslapping and credulous media coverage, perhaps more than anything else the Boundary Dam plant illustrates the huge challenges that CCS faces in progressing much further,” writes Bob Burton in RenewEconomy.

Suggested Tweet: Is the Boundary Dam #CCS plant in #Canada really a success story? asks @bobburtonoz @renew_economy #coal


Financial delay puts Indonesian coal plant at legal risk

The refusal by villagers to sell their land for the proposed 2000 MW Batang coal plant has forced the Indonesian government to delay by a week the date for financial close of the project. The project has already been delayed for over three years. A 2013 Presidential regulation specified October 6 this year as the deadline for the finalisation of the project. “It is possible that the entire Batang project has just become illegal,” said Arif Fiyanto, Greenpeace Climate and Energy Campaigner. The US$4 billion project is contingent on funding from the Japan Bank for International Cooperation. (GlobalPost, Greenpeace)

Suggested Tweet: Has #JPower & #Itochu proposed Batang #coal plant in #Indonesia just become illegal? Will #JBIC keep backing plan? http://bit.ly/1seI44Q

top news

US EPA scuttles Duke Energy coal ash pollution plan: Documents released by the Southern Environmental Law Center revealed that a Duke Energy plan to dump polluted wastewater from 33 coal ash dams into rivers was secretly approved by the North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources. The plan was only abandoned after the US Environmental Protection Agency expressed concern that the proposal would allow the company to discharge polluted water from all their dams without taking a single sample to ensure permit compliance. (WRAL.com)

Australian superannuation fund divests from coal: Local Government Super, a US$7.1 billion superannuation fund for 90,000 current and former local government employees, has decided to exclude investments in companies which earn more than 30 per cent of their income from coal mining or coal power generation from their investment portfolio. However, the fund has decided to invest in companies with nuclear interests as it believes nuclear power is the “only proven” baseload alternative to fossil fuel generation. (Local Government Super)

Wyoming coal port appeal dismissed: The Oregon Department of State Lands has dismissed an appeal by the State of Wyoming against a decision to deny Ambre Energy a permit for the construction of the proposed Coyote Island coal export terminal. The department said that the state of Wyoming had no standing in the matter and that it had failed to provide any evidence that it would be adversely affected by the decision. (Seattlepi)
Corruption risk warning over Croatian power plant bidder: Bankwatch has warned of a potential corruption risk following the selection of a Marubeni and Alstom consortium as the preferred bidder for the construction of the controversial 500 MW Plomin C power plant in Croatia. In May Marubeni was fined US$88 million by a US court for attempting to bribe a member of the Indonesian parliament and executives of the Indonesian power utility PLN over a power-related contract. Alstom was a joint venture partner in the project but not the subject of the court action. (Bankwatch)

UN agency concerned about Bangladesh’s Rampal plant: The secretariat for the United Nations Ramsar Convention has raised concerns about the potential impact of the proposed Rampal plant on the Sundarbans World Heritage Site. In a briefing note to the secretariat, the Bangladesh Forest Department expressed concern over emissions of hot water, ash and pollution from the proposed 1320 MW coal plant. (Prothom Alo)

Indian Forest Service proposes expanding coal access to forests: The Forest Survey of India has proposed making 90 per cent of the remaining forest areas covering coal deposits available for mining. Previously 29 per cent of forests overlaying coal deposits had been classed as being out of bounds for mining. The Environment Minister, Prakash Javadekar, is expected to make a decision on the proposed reclassification in the near future. (Economic Times)

“Even the fact that they’re [the fossil fuel divestment movement] describing coal as unethical is problematic – it shouldn’t be linked with drug dealing and pornography,”

said Brendan Pearson, the Chief Executive of the Minerals Council of Australia, the lobby group for the Australian coal industry. (Behind paywall)


Australia: Subsidiary of Chinese company Meijin delays 38 million tonnes per annum (Mtpa) coal mine.

Tanzania: Africa’s richest man to invest in coal mine to supply cement plants.

Thailand: Govt says PR to be “stepped up” to sell importance of coal power post-gas.
Philippines: Fisheries scientist says algal bloom may have been spread by coal ships’ ballast water.

US: American Electric Power begs regulator for guaranteed income to support four coal plants.

US: Cost of Kemper 582 MW plant with CCS rises by another US$59 million to US$5.6 billion.

“On the second day of taking charge, I decided let's do off-grid solutions, particularly for far-flung areas … I do realise that it is going to be impossible to get grids reaching out all the way there. We'll have to look at some off-grid solutions, some local solutions,”

said the Indian Minister for Power, Coal and New & Renewable Energy, Piyush Goyal.

companies + markets

Chinese steel market changes to hit met coal: Financial analysts at Morningstar have downgraded their estimate for long-term metallurgical coal prices from US$160 to US$130. The firm estimates Chinese steel production will peak in 2014 and fall by nine per cent by 2018. Morningstar estimates that improved domestic rail freight links will see met coal demand supplied from domestic sources resulting in the seaborne trade losing “its main source of demand growth” and reliant on increased imports from India. Goldman Sachs has also downgraded its metallurgical coal price estimate for 2015 to US$126 per tonne increasing to US$142 in 2016. (Morningstar, SNL)

Analyst predicts gloomy short-term outlook for Asian thermal coal: Fitch Ratings, a financial ratings agency, views the short-term prospects for Chinese thermal coal imports – the largest market for exporters – to be “weak” due to increased hydro generation and the impact of policies aimed at cutting coal consumption. (Reuters)

Canadian met coal producer; bought high, sold low: Marubeni and Hong-Kong based Winsway Enterprises have sold Canadian metallurgical coal producer Grande Cache Coal for US$2 after having bought the company for $US975 million in November 2011. Grande Cache Coal operates a 2 Mtpa metallurgical coal mine in Alberta and holds other coal licences. Marubeni initially invested in the company as a hedge against over-reliance on Australian metallurgical coal. (Edmonton Journal, Marubeni)
Stressed Indonesian coal miner scraps share issue: Bumi Resources, the largest Indonesian coal mining company, has cancelled its proposed rights issue and associated debt to equity swap with creditors. Bumi had initially aimed to raise US$656 million through a public rights issue with several creditors such as the China Investment Corporation acting as standby-purchasers. After rejection by key creditors, Bumi revised its rights issue to US$275 million worth of shares. However, when less than 0.001 per cent of issued shares were purchased, Bumi scrapped the share issue. The company will now be forced to resume negotiations with lenders for a financial restructuring of its US$4.2 billion debt. (Reuters, Jakarta Post)
Poland moves to curb Russian coal imports: The Polish parliament is considering legislative restrictions on low-quality coal, a measure aimed at curtailing Russian coal imports. Mine closures and cost-cutting by loss-making domestic producers has spurred protests by miners, including a recent blockade of a railway used for Russian coal imports. (Platts)

US coal exports fall: In the first half of 2014 US coal exports fell by over eight million tonnes or 16 per cent compared to the same period in 2013. US exporters suffered from lower European demand and increased production from Australian and Indonesian mines. (Energy Information Administration)

“China will soon come up to peak coal consumption. Other Asian economies might peak even sooner. It's almost a suicide strategy for the Australian economy,”

said Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, who co-chairs the German Advisory Council on Global Change, on the emphasis on coal in a recently-released Australian government energy green paper.


Electricity For All In India: Why coal is not always king, Vasudha Foundation, October 2014. (Pdf)

This report challenges the view that coal is cheap and plentiful in India and that the expansion of the centralised grid will provide cheap electricity to all, ensure energy security and reduce energy scarcity. The report is presents a good counter-narrative to the energy poverty agenda being pushed by the coal industry.

Beyond Coal and Gas national gathering, Australia

The Beyond Coal and Gas national gathering – a meeting for coal and gas activists from around Australia and beyond - will be held near Ipswich in south-east Queensland October 24 to 27.

Registrations close this Friday.

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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