(Bloomberg) -- Global electricity produced from burning coal slipped 3% last year as more countries shifted to cleaner fuels, but the number of power plants grew for the first time since 2015 because of a boom in China.
About 68 gigawatts of coal plants opened last year, offsetting the roughly 34 gigawatts that retired. Almost two-thirds of the new capacity was installed in China, according to a report from environmental groups including the Sierra Club and Greenpeace International.
The findings show that international pressure to slow use of the dirtiest fossil fuel is having a limited impact in Asia even as coal declines in the U.S., where generation dropped 16%, and in Europe, where it slumped 24%. While coal generation fell 3% in India, almost 80% of the new plants under construction were in Asia.
“Though coal is still advancing in some Asian countries, the rest of the world is clearly seeing an overall decline in the coal fleet,” Gyorgy Dallos, global strategist for Greenpeace, said in a statement.
The report, Boom and Bust 2020: Tracking the Global Coal Plant Pipeline, was also produced by Global Energy Monitor and the Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air.
(Michael Bloomberg, the founder and majority owner of Bloomberg LP, the parent company of Bloomberg News, has committed $500 million to launch Beyond Carbon, a campaign aimed at closing the remaining coal-powered plants in the U.S. by 2030 and slowing the construction of new gas plants.)
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