Reform on World Bank’s coal funding policy sought
With coal expected to play a significant role in the global energy mix for decades to come, the World Coal Association has called on the World Bank to reform its policy on coal financing and support coal-dependent countries in adopting low-emission technologies.
In particular, the London-based WCA is pushing for the switch to “best available high-efficiency, low-emission (Hele)” coal-fired power plants as well as the adoption of carbon capture, use and storage technology.
In a report titled “Reducing emissions from coal: A role for the World Bank,” the coal lobby said that with limited financing options available from development banks, countries might choose to build plants with poorer emissions profiles instead of modern plants fitted with low emissions technologies.
According to the Department of Energy, the Philippines sourced about half of electricity consumed in 2017 from coal-fired power plants. That’s 46.8 trillion kilowatt-hours out of a total of 94.4 trillion kwh.
Coal-fired generators represent more than a third, at 37.4 percent, of the country’s dependable generating capacity. That’s 7,074 megawatts out of a total of 20,515 MW.
So far, planned projects using Hele in the Philippines have yet to hurdle regulatory requirements—particularly for an approved power supply contract—preventing start of construction.
“Through its ability to raise capital and support complex projects, the World Bank is well-positioned to drive the pathway to zero emissions coal, thereby enabling countries to combine economic imperatives with climate goals,” WCA interim chief executive Katie Warrick said in a statement.
“Only international financial and technological support can accelerate deployment of low emission coal technology, particularly carbon capture, use and storage, which is key to achieving the goals of the Paris Agreement,” Warrick said.
However, the World Bank adopted in 2013 a new energy strategy that limits financial support for coal-fueled power plants to “rare and exceptional circumstances.”
“Policies adopted by several development banks, including the World Bank Group, to end financing for coal have not resulted in a shift away from coal,” Warrick said. —RON W. DOMINGO
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