• Belt and Road Initiative coal plant projects being shelved amid overcapacity concerns

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      Patrick Lavery

      Combustion Industry News Editor

A number of planned coal-fired power plants to be built as part of China’s Belt and Road Initiative have been shelved, as the Institute for Energy Economic and Financial Analysis has reported. Chief amongst them is the 6.6 GW Hamrawein project in Egypt, which has been put on hold because of overcapacity concerns and a preference for renewable energies; it would have been the world’s second largest coal-fired power station. Pakistan and Bangladesh, also ‘BRI countries’, have overcapacity issues of their own, with Bangladesh’s installed capacity having a utilisation of only 43% in 2018-19 (though this may have more to do with inadequate transmission infrastructure than a lack of demand). In the context of the COVID-19 crisis and reductions in electricity demand, future planned projects in those countries might also be shelved, especially as there is additional capacity already under construction. The report posits that the situation may mean China will redeploy funds instead to transmission or renewable energy projects.