Mapping coal plants

Carbon Brief has mapped the past, present and future of all the world’s coal-fired power stations.

What this work is about

Since 2000, the world has doubled its coal-fired power capacity to 2,000 gigawatts (GW) after explosive growth in China and India. More recently, 200GW-worth plants have closed due to a wave of retirements across the EU and US. Another 170GW-worth set of plants is set to retire by 2030 and 13 of the world’s 77 coal-powered countries plan a total phaseout .

Carbon Brief website has mapped the past, present and future of all the world’s coal-fired power stations. The interactive timeline map shows the plants operating in each year between 2000 and 2017, as well as the location of planned new capacity. The map shows coal capacity, whereas electricity generation and CO2 emissions depend on a range of other factors.

Using data from CoalSwarm’s Global Coal Plant Tracker, the interactive map features around 10,000 retired, operating and planned coal units, totalling nearly 3,000 gigawatts (GW) across 95 countries.

Why we like it

The way coal’s next chapter unfolds is key to tackling climate change. All unabated coal plants must close within a few decades if warming is to be limited to less than 2°C above pre-industrial temperatures, according to the International Energy Agency .