Coal power saw growth in 2023, primarily fueled by China’s expansion efforts and a deceleration in the closure of coal plants in the United States.

Last year, the world witnessed a 2% increase in coal-fired power capacity, marking the highest annual growth rate since 2016. This surge was driven by new constructions in China and delays in decommissioning elsewhere, as per research published on Thursday.

Despite substantial additions to renewable energy sources, approximately 70 gigawatts (GW) of coal power capacity were commissioned globally in 2023, with China alone accounting for 47.4 GW, according to the annual survey conducted by the US-based think tank Global Energy Monitor (GEM).

Moreover, coal-fired capacity outside of China also experienced growth for the first time since 2019, while globally, only 21.1 GW of capacity was retired. However, despite progress, the report’s lead author, Flora Champenois, emphasized that much more needs to be done, as 25 countries have reduced coal-fired power capacity since the signing of the Paris Agreement in 2015, while 35 have increased it.

Champenois added, “The world is making strides in terms of coal’s role in the energy sector, but the pace of progress is insufficient, and there are some concerning deviations from the desired path.”

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