September 15, 2022
Issue 434  |  View Past Issues
Published by Global Energy Monitor

Editor's Note

A global review of the power sector by a worldwide insurance advisory service states that it is getting harder and more expensive for power utilities to gain insurance coverage for their operations. They concluded that the outlook is “bleak” for utilities with a large share of coal capacity in their portfolio of assets. One company struggling to gain financial support is Adani, which failed to attract financial support for refinancing its North Queensland coal port, forcing the Adani family’s trust to provide funding. Gautam Adani, the head of the family business, has launched a charm offensive to woo potential financial industry backers.

While Russia’s military has suffered a significant setback in Ukraine over the last week, the spillover consequences of the invasion continue to grow. The governor of the country’s largest coal mining region has revealed that work on most new coal mines has been suspended. This comes as a coalition of indigenous leaders and environmental and human rights NGOs have courageously launched a legal challenge against the Russian Government’s plan to allow a significant increase in greenhouse gas emissions before 2030. In wartime Russia, civil society has limited space to express dissenting views. A new report by Human Rights Watch reveals that over the last decade, Egyptian environmental groups have been the target of harassment and increasing restrictions by government agencies. The next global climate talks will be hosted by Egypt in November this year. Civil society groups in Vietnam are encountering similar challenges.

Bob Burton


The world’s third-richest man sells the world a green dream built on coal

Gautam Adani, the CEO of Adani Enterprises, is seeking to persuade the gatekeepers of global capital markets that a coal tycoon is now a champion of green energy, write Chris Kay and P R Sanjai in Bloomberg.

Vietnam’s unjust energy transition

Vietnam is seeking billions in funding from the Just Energy Transition Partnership, but the clean energy advocate Nguy Thi Khanh and other civil society leaders remain imprisoned. Only when they can contribute their expertise freely can the country benefit from a truly just energy transition, writes Bobby Peek from groundWork/ Friends of the Earth South Africa in Al Jazeera.

Remember that US coal surge last year? Yeah, it’s over

In 2022, coal resumed its decline and again fell behind renewables in the US, thanks to high coal prices and the continuing wave of coal plant closings, writes Dan Gearino in Inside Climate News.

Top News

Russian coal companies suspend new mine projects: Sergey Tsivilev, the Governor of Kuzbass, Russia’s leading coal mining region, said limits on the capacity of Russian Railways to supply coal to the Pacific market had pushed most major companies to suspend the development of new coal projects except for projects nearing completion. Regional authorities estimate coal production from the Kuzbass, which produces about half of the country’s coal, is likely to fall by 15 per cent this year to about 207 million tonnes. Russian President Vladimir Putin said the decision not to expand the capacity of the Baikal–Amur and Trans-Siberian railways was a mistake. While Russian coal exports to China and India have increased, demand by other major Pacific coal importers, such as Japan and South Korea, is gradually declining. (Tass, Reuters)

Legal challenge launched against Russian govt's emissions strategy: A coalition of Russian environmental, human rights and indigenous groups has filed a lawsuit in the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation challenging a 2020 decree of President Vladimir Putin and the greenhouse gas emissions strategy approved by the government in October 2021. The lawsuit argues the government’s plan would allow greenhouse gas emissions to increase to 2212 million tonnes of carbon dioxide by 2030. An emissions reduction pathway consistent with the Paris Agreement requires Russian emissions decline to 968 million tonnes by 2030. Russia is the world’s fourth largest greenhouse gas emitter and has 71 coal power plants with a combined capacity of 40,054 megawatts (MW). (Guardian, Moscow Times, Ecodefense [Russian])

Egypt, the host of the next climate talks, has muzzled clean air advocates: A report by Human Rights Watch finds that since President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi’s government took office in 2014, it has introduced measures that have undermined the ability of environmental NGOs to undertake their work. Many advocates have been the subject of harassment, gone into exile or ceased their advocacy work. Egypt will host the COP27 international climate summit in November 2022. One person, who spoke to Human Rights Watch on condition of anonymity, said those involved in the Egyptians Against Coal campaign had been undermined by government harassment. The group was critical of the government’s push to revoke a ban on the use of coal by the cement industry. “We had some prominent people who showed up on TV to speak against coal, but suddenly they started to quit the campaign. One was harassed by security at the airport, so he quit,” one environmentalist said. (Human Rights Watch)

Sludge from NSW Peabody mine pollutes national park: The New South Wales Environment Protection Authority (EPA) is investigating the coal sludge polluting a creek in Sydney’s water catchment that runs into Royal National Park. A trail runner discovered the pollution and traced it upstream to the Metropolitan Colliery, a mine owned by Peabody Energy. In June 2022, the EPA fined Metropolitan Colliery A$15,000 (US$10,100) after another pollution event at the mine. (ABC News, Guardian))

Report says Czech utility's biomass push prolongs life of coal plants: A report by FERN, a Belgian NGO, finds that the Czech power utility EPH has exploited loopholes in the European Union’s (EU) Renewable Energy Directive that allow member states to provide subsidies for biomass from forests even when used in coal plants. EPH has interests in coal and lignite plants in France, Germany, Italy, the Czech Republic, the UK and Slovakia. The report estimates that EPH will burn about 4.6 million tonnes of wood in 2022 in its coal power plants. Emissions from burning biomass are also exempt from the EU Emissions Trading Scheme due to accounting rules attributing the emissions to the country producing the forest products. Fern estimates EPH is on track to generate 6.3 million tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions from biomass in 2022, which would cost about €502 million (US$502 million) if EU carbon credits were required. (Fern)

Groups oppose Glencore’s arbitration move over Colombian court ruling: A coalition of international NGOs has filed a submission with Colombia’s Constitutional Court supporting the implementation of the court’s 2017 decision blocking the expansion of the Cerrejon mine. The court found that the proposed diversion of the Bruno River would have deprived the indigenous Wayuu people of their rights to water, health and food sovereignty. At the time, the mine was jointly owned by BHP, Anglo American and Glencore. Glencore is now the sole owner of the mine. The groups have expressed concern that Glencore is pursuing a compensation claim against Colombia through arbitration under the Investor-State Dispute Settlement provisions in bilateral trade agreements with Switzerland and the UK. The NGOs expressed concern that Glencore’s claim could undermine the Wayuu people’s efforts to restore the natural course of the Bruno River and defend their rights. (Institute for Policy Studies [Pdf])


Australia: New South Wales Government grants two new greenfield coal exploration permits covering over 3000 hectares to Narrabri Coal, a subsidiary of Whitehaven Coal.olor.

Australia: The retrial of the Minister for Resources Ian Macdonald commenced over the allocation of the Doyles Creek coal exploration licence in 2008.

Greece: Greek power utility PPC says the Ptolemaida V lignite plant will be commissioned by March 2023.

India: Three Himachal Emta Power officials were sentenced to three years in jail after being found guilty of cheating the government over the allocation of Gourangdih ABC Coal Block in West Bengal.

Mexico: Records reveal the state-owned Federal Electricity Commission has been buying coal from the El Pinabete mine, where 10 miners were recently killed. A labour inspector has never visited the mine.

South Africa: The breakdown of a coal conveyor led to the failure of three units at Eskom’s Kendal coal plant and load shedding.

Sri Lanka: Parliamentary committee to inquire into awarding a contract for 4.5 million tonnes of coal to a supplier not shortlisted in the tender process.

“For those companies that continue to maintain coal plants at 30 per cent or more of their overall total asset base, the long-term outlook in terms of access to [insurance] capacity remains bleak”,

write [Pdf] analysts from WTW, a global insurance advisory firm.

Companies + Markets

Insurance evaporating for coal utilities: A report on major insurance industry trends by WTW, a global insurance advisory firm, states that today coal programs can access “as little as a tenth” of the insurance capacity available for other power projects. The analysts estimate coal power station owners face insurance premium rises of 15 to 20 per cent as reduced interest in the sector allows “opportunistic and inflated pricing with little to no alternative options available to turn to.” Other power sector customers’ premium increases range between 2.5 per cent and 5 per cent. The analysts also found that internal company restrictions on providing coal coverage are “becoming increasingly challenging to circumvent, as senior management take ownership of managing the exemptions process; this is now resulting in very little room for manoeuvre during the placement process.” (WTW [Pdf])

Adani fails to find funders to refinance Australian coal port: The financial services firm Fitch Ratings reports that the Adani Family Trust has been required to provide US$500 million to refinance a loan on the North Queensland Expert Terminal (NQXT) at Abbot Point. The loan was due to expire in December. Since Adani financed the purchase of a 99-year lease on the port in 2010 with debt, it has struggled to refinance loans for the project as financial institutions shunned the controversial company. The port, which has a rated capacity of 50 million tonnes, exported 29.2 million tonnes in the financial year ending March 2022. Since early July, coal from Adani’s Carmichael mine has been shipped through the port. Fitch Ratings states that NQXT has a long-term contract to export 9.3 million tonnes per year from the Carmichael mine. (FitchRatings)

Groups challenge Glencore’s advertising: A coalition of First Nations and environmental groups have lodged two legal complaints against Glencore, alleging the company’s claims over its climate impact and behaviour towards Traditional Owners breach advertising standards and corporations law. Glencore is the largest Australian coal miner and the world’s largest exporter of thermal coal. In one claim, the Plains Clan of the Wonnarua People, Comms Declare and Lock the Gate Alliance request the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission and the Australian Securities Investment Corporation to investigate company advertising promoting the company’s commitment to align its operations with the goals of the Paris Agreement and its statement that it seeks to engage openly and honestly with Australia’s Indigenous people. The groups argue the advertising could breach restrictions on misleading and deceptive conduct. Separate complaints have been lodged with the Advertising Standards Board in Australia, alleging the company’s advertising breached the Environmental Claims Code and the Australian Association of National Advertisers Code of Ethics. (Australian Financial Review [paywall], Lock the Gate, Environmental Defenders Office)

Colorado utility to exit ownership of state’s newest coal plant: CORE Electric Cooperative has initiated steps to require the Public Service Company of Colorado (PSCo), a subsidiary of Xcel Energy, to buy out its 25 per cent share of the troubled 857 MW Unit 3 at the Comanche Generating Station. Jeff Baudier, the CEO of the cooperative, said PSCo had “driven this plant to dysfunction through mismanagement and incompetence.” The cooperative paid about US$366 million for its share of the unit, which was first commissioned in 2010. The unit supplies about 40–60 per cent PSCo’s power requirements when operating but has been plagued with numerous and often prolonged breakdowns. The Colorado Public Utilities Commission has approved the unit’s closure by the end of 2030. The cooperative cites Xcel Energy’s agreement to close the plant early as a further breach of its legal obligations to the unit’s owners. Earlier this year, two workers were killed by the collapse of a coal stockpile at the 1635 MW plant. The US Environmental Protection Agency also fined PSCo US$925,000 over groundwater contamination from the coal ash dam. (CPR News,  CORE Electric Cooperative [Pdf])

India’s draft power plan touts a major increase in coal capacity: The draft National Electricity Plan by India’s Central Electricity Authority (CEA) estimates power demand could increase by 7.2 per cent annually over the five years to March 2027. This would be almost double the growth rate of over four per cent over the last five years to March 2022. The CEA estimates power generation capacity could increase by 165,300 MW by March 2027, a 41 per cent increase. The CEA suggests 25,580 MW of new coal plants would be commissioned between 2022 and 2027 and a further 17,000 MW to 28,000 MW by 2032. The CEA estimates domestic coal demand could be 831 million tonnes by 2027 and over 1 billion tonnes by 2031, with a further 40 million tonnes imported. The draft plan is open for public comment until December 5, 2022. (Reuters, Central Electricity Authority [Pdf])

Ukraine bans export of metallurgical coal: The Ukrainian Cabinet has agreed to ban the export of metallurgical coal to ensure sufficient energy supplies to meet winter heating demand. In June, Ukraine banned exports of gas, oil and thermal coal. The government stated metallurgical coal was added to the banned list “to prevent abuse and manipulation of the quality of coal” that could be used for power generation. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has resulted in the loss of significant coal mining capacity in the Donbas region and attacks on power plants. Russian military operations have resulted in the temporary closure of the 5700 MW Zaporizhzhia nuclear power station. The plant contributed about 20 per cent of Ukraine’s electricity supply. (Nasdaq)

Philippines business group alarmed over coal impact on power prices: The Philippines Chamber of Commerce and Industry has expressed concern that the rising cost of imported coal is driving electricity prices higher and forcing manufacturers to pass on costs to consumers. The textile and garments industry also complained about the impact of high coal prices on electricity costs. On a recent trade trip, the newly elected President Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. won an agreement from Indonesian President Joko Widodo to exempt the Philippines from the ban on coal exports. Indonesia has banned exports by companies that have not met their domestic market obligation, designed to supply low-cost coal to domestic power stations and other industrial users. The move comes as BDO Unibank, the Philippines’ largest bank, announced it will cut its support for coal by 50 per cent by 2033. (Inquirer, BusinessWorld, Manila Standard)


The American electric utility industry’s role in promoting climate denial, doubt, and delay,” Environmental Letters, September 2022.

This journal article reviews US power utilities and affiliated organisations’ public advocacy between 1968 and 2019 and finds they promoted climate denial, doubt and delay.

Diverse pathways for power sector decarbonization in Texas yield health co-benefits but fail to alleviate air pollution exposure inequities,” Environmental Science & Technology, September 7, 2022.

This study explores options for decarbonising the Texas power grid and finds that switching from coal to renewables offers significant public health benefits, but additional measures are required to address the higher air pollution damage imposed on Black and lower-income communities.

Diverse pathways for power sector decarbonization in Texas yield health co-benefits but fail to alleviate air pollution exposure inequities,” Environmental Science & Technology, September 7, 2022.

This study explores options for decarbonising the Texas power grid and finds that switching from coal to renewables offers significant public health benefits, but additional measures are required to address the higher air pollution damage imposed on Black and lower-income communities.