By Anton Lang ~
How often have we heard that coal fired power is going extinct, becoming obsolete, a dying enterprise, a stranded asset?
Is that really true?
Well, no it isn’t true at all, and it’s more complex than just saying that.
We all know now that China, and to a lesser extent, India, are still moving ahead with coal fired power, and not just on a small scale, but on a huge scale. Now, China are also implementing, as part of their ‘Belt and Road’ Plan, the advancement of coal fired power in other Countries, nearly all of them Countries classified as still developing by the U.N. and what are sometimes euphemistically referred to as ‘Third World Countries’.
I have been writing about electrical power generation in all its forms now for more than thirteen years. One of the first things I found when I started was that China was constructing new coal fired power plants in huge numbers, opening up a new coal fired power plant every seven to ten days across that vast Country that is China. In those last 13 years, that construction rate has barely changed. Foremost among those plants in China that were being commissioned and delivering power to the Chinese grid were the new technology UltraSuperCritical (and from now on, I will refer to these by their acronym USC) and in recent years these new tech plants are being referred to by a newer acronym, HELE. (High Efficiency Low Emissions) One of these USC coal fired plants in China is shown in the image below, and this should forevel dispel the idea that coal fired plants are dirty. For perspective on the size of this Unit, note the men in the image. This is the Turbine Hall at the Waigaoqiao No. 3 plant, and as you can see, there is a second Unit in the background. Each Unit has a 1000MW generator. (As with all images on this Post, each image can be seen on a larger scale if you click on the image, and it then opens on a new tab and at the larger size)