Chasing the Dragon? China’s coal overcapacity crisis and what it means for investors

China risks wasting $490 billion on new coal plants that will be unneeded as structural changes to its economy, increased non-coal capacity targets, power sector reforms and carbon pricing slashes coal-fired generation, analysis by the Carbon Tracker Initiative. The study shows that as of July this year China has 895 GW of operating coal capacity or 2,689 plants being utilised less than half the time, with another 205 GW of capacity under construction inconsistent with the goals of the 13th five-year plan. Under the 13th FYP, Chasing the Dragon? China’s coal overcapacity crisis and what it means for investors, finds slower power demand growth and low carbon capacity targets will likely strand coal capacity. For example, additional capacity beyond existing plants is only required by 2020 if power generation growth exceeds 4% year and coal plants are run at utilisation rate of 45% or less.

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