GEM: Non-China Coal Power Sees First Growth Since 2019

Global Energy Monitor 2024 global coal Tracker shows less coal-power capacity was retired in 2023 than for a decade but that trend will be 'short lived'

Coal capacity outside of China grew for the first time since 2019, according to an annual report from a leading non-profit energy organisation.

The Global Coal Mine Tracker shows that 2023 saw the lowest level of coal power being retired than in any year since 2013. It is published by Global Energy Monitor (GEM), a US-based non-governmental organisation that catalogues fossil fuel and renewable energy projects worldwide. 

The Tracker covers 6,646 coal mines and mine projects across 70 countries. It shows that coal mines producing at least 1 million tonnes per annum (Mtpa) account for 92% of global coal production, with almost half of this production from China alone. The top three coal producing countries – China, India and Australia – account for more than 80% of global  coal capacity.

The 2024 Tracker includes a significant addition of coal mines from China, following GEM’s decision to lower the capacity threshold to 600,000 tonnes. This not only increases the number of listed mines but also the reported figures for capacity and production.

The 2024 update shows a significant increase in coal capacity under development, with 2,384mn tonnes from proposed projects that are expected to produce at least 1Mtpa. 


New coal power brought online in India & Japan 

The Tracker also reveals that, outside of China, new coal power was brought online in India, Indonesia, Vietnam, Japan, Bangladesh, Pakistan, South Korea, Greece and Zimbabwe.

A new addition to the Tracker is data on closed coal mines, as GEM seeks to chronicle the phasing out of coal mines as the world seeks to move away from fossil fuels to sustainable energy sources. Closures listed cover the period 2015 to 2023. 

Commenting on the 2024 Tracker, GEM says the shown increase in coal power is likely to be short term because “coal retirement rates are expected to increase again in the US and Europe over the coming years”.

“Coal’s fortunes this year are an anomaly, as all signs point to reversing course from this accelerated expansion”, explained Flora Champenois, GEM Coal Programme Director.

But China’s continuing heavy reliance on coal-power is another matter.

In a February 2023 joint report from GEM and the Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air Champenois said China’s coal production capacity means it “is badly off track to meet several climate targets the country set for 2025”. 

She added that China’s “just in case” approach to coal production “is a costly and risky gamble – especially when alternative solutions are available to meet targets and address energy security”. 

Graphic from GEM's Global Coal Mine Tracker.

About The Global Coal Mine Tracker 

The Tracker is a worldwide dataset of coal mines and proposed projects. It provides data on ownership structure, development stage and status, coal type, capacity, production, workforce size, reserves and resources, methane emissions, geolocation.

GEM shares information in support of clean energy and its data and reports on energy trends are widely cited by governments, media and academic researchers.