• Carbon Tracker analysis estimates 46% of coal-fired power plants will run at a loss this year

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      Patrick Lavery

      Combustion Industry News Editor

Analysis by UK-based think-tank Carbon Tracker has found that 46% of the coal-fired power plants it analysed will make a loss this year when considering estimated revenues from wholesale power markets, ancillary and balancing services, and capital markets, against the expenses of running costs, carbon pricing and pollution policies. The figure is up from the finding of 42% from last year, and Carbon Tracker projects that by 2030, 52% of plants will be making a loss. A total of 6,696 operational plants and 1,046 projects planned or under construction were studied, accounting for around 95% of plants worldwide. The study also found that in China, 60% of plants were unprofitable, and 61% of those due to come online will also do so with a negative cashflow, with the prospect of never breaking even over the course of their operating lives. (This is also true of a significant portion of plants worldwide.) While the projections may presently be accurate, it is possible that the predictability of thermal power generation will be rewarded more highly by markets in the future.