24 March 2016

The power of high efficiency coal

WCA report finds high efficiency low emission coal-fired power generation mitigates more CO2 emissions than renewables

23rd Mar 2016
London – The World Coal Association (WCA) today announced the publication of the new flagship report “The Power of High Efficiency Coal”. The report demonstrates the impact deploying high efficiency low emission (HELE) coal technologies has on delivering affordable energy while reducing CO2 emissions.

Significant findings from the report include:

  • HELE coal-fired power generation mitigates more CO2 emissions than renewables per dollar of investment.
  • By 2040, 1.1 billion tonnes of CO2 per year could be avoided by deploying HELE technologies.
  • Given the higher capital costs of renewable technologies and their lower load factors, in most regions, conversion to HELE technologies represents the lowest cost CO2 abatement alternative.

Launching the report, WCA Chief Executive Benjamin Sporton commented: “As we approach the signing of the Paris Agreement next month, it is important to recognise that HELE technologies are vital to its long-term success. Nationally Determined Contributions submitted by countries in the lead-up to COP21 are the foundation of the Paris Agreement and in many of those plans HELE coal technology plays a significant role.  The power of HELE technology needs to be understood.”

The new report also demonstrates that HELE coal technology is one of the most affordable ways to reduce CO2 emissions while providing affordable electricity.

“Our research shows that focussing on a shift away from the least efficient coal technology to more efficient coal technology represents the lowest cost option for reducing CO2 emissions. In Southeast Asia coal can generate electricity at close to half the price of gas and deploying high efficiency coal for power generation in Southeast Asia costs a fifth less than using wind. That’s why demand for coal is forecast to grow significantly in the region in the decades to come,” Mr Sporton said.

To support implementation of the Paris Agreement the WCA has advocated for an international mechanism to be established to provide financial and other support necessary for countries to accelerate deployment of HELE technologies.

The vision of the WCA’s Platform for Accelerating Coal Efficiency (PACE) is to deploy the most efficient power plant technology possible.

“An international financial mechanism to help drive the deployment of high efficiency coal would help to ensure that the Paris Agreement is a success by ensuring countries reduce emissions in a cost effective way,” Mr Sporton concluded.

To find out more visit

The full report can be downloaded at

The data sources for the report can be viewed at


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