SAN FRANCISCO, U.S. – The global pivot away from coal risks become a global pivot toward new gas projects, according to a report from Global Energy Monitor (GEM), which finds that approximately 89.6 gigawatts (GW) of gas plants in development, totalling 5,070 million tonnes CO2e lifetime emissions if built, are coal-to-gas conversions or replacements. These conversions are proceeding despite data showing that gas projects are increasingly uncompetitive with renewables, and despite growing support for the Global Methane Pledge, which has been signed by 122 countries that currently account for half of all methane emissions.
- Of 692.5 GW of new gas plants in development globally, 89.6 GW, or 13% consist of coal-to-gas conversions or replacements.
- East Asia has the most coal-to-gas conversions or replacements in development, 29.6 GW, which would produce 1,843 million tonnes CO2e lifetime emissions. Leading countries in the region are South Korea with 12.7 GW and Taiwan with 11.3 GW.
- Europe has 19.7 GW of coal-to-gas conversions or replacements in development, representing approximately 29% of the region’s 68 GW of new gas-fired capacity, which would produce 972.1 million tonnes CO2e lifetime emissions. Leading countries in the region are Poland with 5.4 GW and Germany with 4.1 GW.
- North America has 18.6 GW of coal-to-gas conversions or replacements in development, representing approximately 44% of the region’s 42.6 GW of new gas-fired capacity. The United States has 16.8 GW and Canada has 1.8 GW.
- There is a planned US$797.4 billion expansion of gas infrastructure underway in the regions of North America, Europe, and East Asia, representing an enormous potential stranded asset risk.
- The EU is the region with the most delays or cancellations of coal-to-gas conversions, totalling 3,480 MW of coal-to-gas project cancellations and 1,346 MW of coal-to-gas shelved projects in 2022.
- Global Methane Pledge signatories South Korea, the United States, and Germany are paradoxically leaders in the coal-to-gas conversion movement.
“Calling gas “clean” or “green” will never change the fact that it’s just as bad for the climate, and in some cases worse, than coal,” said Jenny Martos, Project Manager for GEM’s Global Gas Tracker. “Nor can gas compete with renewables economically. This study underscores the need for countries canceling coal to leapfrog gas and develop more renewables.”
“It is quite astonishing to see a continued global appetite for fossil gas,” said Sarah Brown, Senior Energy & Climate Analyst for Ember. “The energy crisis is a fossil gas crisis and the only way to end it is to rapidly reduce dependence on gas through accelerated renewables deployment and energy efficiency. Europe finds itself in its current situation because it failed to transition from fossil fuels fast enough. Other regions must not repeat this mistake for the sake of their own energy, climate, and political security.”
“Supply chain disruptions, geopolitical crises such as the war in Ukraine, and dated market regulations have highlighted the energy insecurity issues associated with fossil gas,” said Alex Truby, a data scientist with Transition Zero. “Renewables on the other hand present governments with an opportunity to protect electricity consumers from continued fossil fuel volatility and enhance energy security while also meeting climate goals.”
Download the report here.
Jenny Martos, Project Manager, Global Gas Tracker, [email protected]
Julie Joly, Oil & Gas Program Director, [email protected]
About Global Energy Monitor
Global Energy Monitor is a nonprofit research organization developing information on energy projects worldwide. Through its Global Solar Power Tracker and Global Solar Power Tracker projects, Global Energy Monitor provides annual updates on wind and solar powered facilities. Global Energy Monitor data is used by the International Energy Agency (IEA), the OECD Environment Directorate, UN Environment Programme, U.S. Treasury Department, and World Bank.