A boom in gas power plant development is now larger on a capacity basis than the build-out of new coal capacity, according to a survey by Global Energy Monitor (GEM). Building all the gas plants currently in pre-construction or construction phases would add more than 615 GW of gas-fired capacity and lock in decades of emissions. These gas expansion plans represent capital expenditures of nearly US$509 billion.
- Building all the gas power plants currently in pre-construction or construction phases would add over 615 GW of gas-fired capacity into the world, at an estimated cost of nearly US$509 billion in capital expenditure. By comparison, there is 456 GW of coal plant capacity in development globally.
- Gas power plants currently in pre-construction will cost an estimated US$380 billion and increase global gas-fired capacity by an additional 454 GW (Table 2).
- Gas power plants under construction worldwide will cost an estimated US$128 billion and raise global gas-fired capacity by nearly 161 GW (Table 2).
- The 615 GW of gas-fired power plants in development surpasses the 457 GW of coal power plants currently in development.
- The gas expansion directly conflicts with IEA’s 1.5°C net-zero pathway, under which unabated fossil gas-fired generation must peak by 2030 and be 90% lower by 2040, compared to 2020 levels.
- The global gas plant build-out is ubiquitous, with the leading five countries constituting 39% of new global gas-fired capacity in development, and the top 20 countries making up 75%. In comparison, the top five countries represent 82% of new coal-fired capacity in development globally.
“Unlike coal, where China is the biggest culprit, the boom in gas plant construction is everywhere,” said Julie Joly, Program Director for Oil & Gas for Global Energy Monitor. “Asian countries moving away from coal are switching to gas instead, and locking in decades of GHG emissions. Europe and the United States are expanding their gas fleets despite policy pledges to reduce emissions.”
“A challenge with measuring the impact of gas plant can be that their immediate impact on surrounding communities may be harder to see than coal ash or coal smoke,” said Jenny Martos, a Researcher for GEM. “But these gas plants are a serious threat to our chances of limiting warming to 1.5 degrees.”
GEM’s gas plant survey is based on its released first complete dataset for the Global Gas Plant Tracker (GGPT), which was released in January 2022. The tracker includes information about operating, proposed, in construction, shelved, canceled, mothballed, and retired gas-fired power plants worldwide from 2020 on. It covers plants of 50 MW or greater (20 MW or greater in the EU and UK). The data is open source and comprehensive, including information about status, ownership, technology and fuel type, and location.
Read the report here.
Additional summary tables here.
Jenny Martos, [email protected], 804-519-3307
Julie Joly, [email protected], 720-535-6559
###Global Energy Monitor (GEM) develops and shares information on fossil fuel projects in support of the worldwide movement for clean energy. Current projects include the Global Coal Plant Tracker, the Global Fossil Infrastructure Tracker, the Global Gas Infrastructure Tracker, the Global Gas Plant Tracker, the Europe Gas Tracker, the CoalWire and Inside Gas newsletters, and the GEM wiki. For more information, visit www.globalenergymonitor.org