| Japan walks away from new coal, denting prospects for NSW coal exports|
The demand for new coal-fired power stations in Japan has collapsed dramatically over the last four years, as Japan prioritises new renewables projects over fossil fuels.
A new report authored by IEEFA analysts Tim Buckley and Simon Nicholas suggests the trend will have significant ramifications for Australia, particularly the NSW coal industry, which is amongst the largest suppliers of thermal coal to Japan.
Japan is the largest customer of coal exported from NSW, receiving 45% of NSW coal exports in 2018, but a greater focus on embracing renewables has seen plans for an expansion of Japan’s coal generator fleet largely shelved.
Since 2015, the development pipeline for new coal-fired power plants in Japan has fallen from around 12,600MW to just over 4,580MW, representing a 64% decline as Japan backs away from coal.
Numerous planned new coal developments have been cancelled because they have not stacked up financially. The emergence of more cost-effective renewable energy projects has accelerated this trend, along with decisions from major Japanese financiers and insurance firms to reduce their exposure to fossil fuel investments.
Natural gas beat coal in US. Will renewables and storage soon beat gas?
Coal, the long-reigning king of the U.S. power sector, was officially dethroned by cheap, abundant natural gas in 2016. In 2018, natural gas fueled more than 60 percent of newly installed electric-generating capacity and accounted for 35 percentof total U.S. electricity generation.
But that may be about to change. Natural gas faces intensifying pressure from wind and solar power combined with storage technologies. Renewable energy resources such as solar and wind are expected to be the fastest growing source of electricity generation, outpacing gas for at least the next two years.
Electricity generation from utility-scale solar is expected to grow by 17 percent in 2020 and that from wind by 14 percent during the next two years
US renewable energy transition to move faster than anticipated by 2022: FERC report
Looking between FERC’s April and May infrastructure updates, renewables appear to be displacing fossil fuel and nuclear capacity at a faster pace. The May Energy Infrastructure Update included an additional 3 GW of coal capacity expected for retirement.
“The revisions in FERC’s latest three-year projections underscore the dramatic changes taking place in the nation’s electrical generating mix,” Ken Bossong, executive director of the SUN DAY Campaign, said in a statement.
“The FERC 3-year forecast of U.S. electrical generating mix is an affirmation that the clean energy transition is underway,” World Resources Institute (WRI) Senior Associate Devashree Saha told Utility Dive via email.