Grauniad: “‘the end of coal’ in Asia”… Or just an illiterate Grauniad journalist?

Guest slam dunk by David Middleton

Energy analysts forecast ‘the end of coal’ in Asia as Japanese investors back renewables

Australia’s largest export customer for thermal coal is scrapping plans to build power plants

Ben Smee and Daniel Hurst in Tokyo
Sun 17 Mar 2019

Major Japanese investors, including those most indebted to coal, are seeking to back large-scale renewables projects across Asia, marking a “monumental” shift that energy market analysts say is “the start of the end for thermal coal”.

At the same time, Japanese banks and trading houses are walking away from coal investments, selling out of Australian mines and scrapping plans to build coal-fired power.

Japan is Australia’s largest export customer for thermal coal. Of the proposed pipeline of coal power projects in Japan in 2015, figures from the Global Coal Plant tracker show three-quarters are now unlikely to proceed.

The most recent proposal likely to be shelved, a 1.3GW coal-fired power station in Akita, in Japan’s north-west coastal region, follows the cancellation of two others earlier this year. Sojitz Corporation this week announced further divestment from thermal coal, following Itochu announcing a coal exit last month, and Mitsui in November.

Sources in the Asian renewable and energy finance sectors say…

[…]

The Grauniad

Instead of relying on what “sources in the Asian renewable and energy finance sectors say,” why didn’t these intrepid journalists just click on the links they provided?

I clicked on the Sojitz link first because I have some familiarity with the company – they were partners of ours in a deepwater oil field in the Gulf of Mexico. I also understand the meaning of the word, “divestment.” It means you sell an asset to someone else who wants to *invest* in that asset. This is what the Sojitz link said…

Sojitz Divests Interest in Thermal Coal Assets, BAU Coal Mine, in Indonesia

Mar. 11, 2019
Sojitz Corporation


Sojitz Corporation (“Sojitz”) has entered an agreement to sell its entire 30% stake in PT Bara Alam Utama (“BAU”), a coal mining company that owns and operates the BAU thermal coal mine located in South Sumatra, Republic of Indonesia, to an existing partner.


This strategic share sale furthers Sojitz’s shift away from thermal coal investments as the company continues to rebalance its coal assets in light of rising global concern for the environment and long-term business sustainability. Following the sale, Sojitz will continue to serve as BAU’s exclusive sales agent in Japan and continue to provide a stable supply of coal to the Japanese market.

Sojitz

Here’s the same press release with the virtue signalling deleted…


Sojitz Divests Interest in Thermal Coal Assets, BAU Coal Mine, in Indonesia
Mar. 11, 2019
Sojitz Corporation

Sojitz Corporation (“Sojitz”) has entered an agreement to sell its entire 30% stake in PT Bara Alam Utama (“BAU”), a coal mining company that owns and operates the BAU thermal coal mine located in South Sumatra, Republic of Indonesia, to an existing partner.

[…]


Following the sale, Sojitz will continue to serve as BAU’s exclusive sales agent in Japan and continue to provide a stable supply of coal to the Japanese market.


Sojitz

Sojitz currently has a 30% interest in a coal mining company. Sojitz could have only entered into an agreement to divest that 30% interest, if there was a willing buyer… And there was a willing buyer, one of the other partners who owns the other 70% of the coal mining company.

The coal mine will continue to operate and Sojitz will continue to market the coal produced from the mine in Japan.

Let’s move on…

JANUARY 31, 2019 / 5:56 AM / 2 MONTHS AGO

Japan’s Idemitsu, Kyushu Elec, Tokyo Gas scrap coal-fired power plant plan

TOKYO, Jan 31 (Reuters) – Japan’s Idemitsu Kosan, Kyushu Electric Power and Tokyo Gas said on Thursday they have given up their plan to build a 2 gigawatt (GW) coal-fired power station in Chiba, near Tokyo, as it would not be economically feasible.

The move follows a similar decision by Chugoku Electric Power and JFE Steel, a unit of JFE Holdings last month, and comes amid growing pressure in most of the world for companies to divest coal assets due to environmental concerns.

Burning coal to generate power produces large quantities of carbon dioxide and other so-called greenhouse gases responsible for climate change. An international agreement reached in Paris in 2015 committed signatories to cutting fossil fuel use.

Kyushu Electric and Tokyo Gas said instead they will consider building a gas-fired power plant, using liquefied natural gas (LNG), at the same site owned by Idemitsu.

[…]

Reuters

Remember the Grauniad headline? “Energy analysts forecast ‘the end of coal’ in Asia as Japanese investors back renewables.” Smee & Hurst are 0 for 2. We have a coal mine that was not replaced with renewables and a planned coal-fired plant that won’t be replaced with renewables.

There has to be at least one example of renewables replacing coal… Right?

ITOCHU hereby also announces that we have sold our interest in the Rolleston thermal coal mine held through our wholly-owned subsidiary in Australia, ITOCHU Minerals & Energy Australia Pty Ltd.

This is the second such sale by ITOCHU of one of our thermal coal mine interests in recent years following the sale of our interest in the NCA joint venture in September 2016.

Itochu

Smee & Hurst are 0 for 3. Itochu didn’t demolish any coal mines. They sold their interest in the coal mines to… Drum roll, please… Investors who wanted to invest in… Wait for it… COAL MINES!!!

Did these clowns get anything right?


Across Japan, 13 offshore wind projects are undergoing environmental impact assessments, with the total investment opportunities worth up to 2 trillion yen (A$25bn), according to Mizuho Bank estimates published this week.

The Grauniad

According the Mizuho…


Japan offshore wind farms offer $18bn in lending opportunities
Sector holds promise as target for sustainable investing, Mizuho study finds


YOHEI HIROSE, Nikkei staff writer
MARCH 13, 2019


TOKYO — Offshore wind farms planned across Japan total 2 trillion yen ($18 billion) in project costs, Mizuho Bank estimates, offering lending opportunities for banks seeking to boost their environmental credentials.
The Mizuho Financial Group member and peers Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group and Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group are reportedly considering proposals for financing 10 such projects as lead underwriters. Offshore wind farms typically require financing from multiple lenders due to their high costs.

[…]


Mizuho’s study covers 13 planned offshore wind farms that are undergoing environmental assessments. The projects have a total planned output of about 5.37 million kilowatts.

Nikkei Asia Review

Even if any of these wind installations get built, how is that “the end of coal’ in Asia”??? 5.4 GW of offshore wind capacity will generate about the same GWh of electricity as 2 GW of coal- or natural gas-fired electricity.

So… “Idemitsu, Kyushu Elec, Tokyo Gas scrap plans to build a 2 GW coal-fired power plant”, opting to replace it with a natural gas-fired power plant… Tokyo Gas should have been a clue. While, the planned construction of 5.4 GW of offshore wind installations offers “lending opportunities for banks seeking to boost their environmental credentials”… And offshore wind installations require a lot of financing “due to their high costs.”

The notion of fossil fuel divestment is almost as STUPID as the Green New Deal Cultural Revolution.

77 thoughts on “Grauniad: “‘the end of coal’ in Asia”… Or just an illiterate Grauniad journalist?

  1. The Guardian was once a good newspaper. Now it is referred to as the ‘Grauniad’, because of its reputation for typos. The entry for ‘Grauniad’ in the Urban Dictionary includes an unintentional misspelling. The definition also has misinformation in it in exactly the same way as the modern Grauniad is filled with misinformation. The Grauniad, sadly, is not alone in this failing as it is rife amid modern Media.

    • I find the Grauniad similar to the “Onion”, except that the writers are actually fooling themselves, and without the clever humor.

    • Thanks for the explanation! I knew the two were tracked each other – in the back of my mind, but never followed up. I thought it strange the two names were anagrams of the other, but didn’t realize it was a poke at their spelling and/or dyslexia.
      As for spelling… the English spell lots of things differently than Americans. And who does spell/grammar checks anymore, anyway? You can’t find any major media in the US that do that.

  2. This may have nothing to do with climate. I was involved in alternative evaluation for a power generation facility several years ago. The capital cost for a coal fired plant is much much higher than for a natural gas fired plant. With LNG you buy a couple of gas turbine generators, some waste heat recovery units producing steam, and run a steam turbine from that. No coal transportation and storage facilities, rail spurs, etc. All you need is a terminal to receive the LNG and a pipeline to get it to your power plant. If LNG is available at a reasonable price, your decision is clear. Simple economics.

    • NG generation is much easier to ramp up and down – something needed it some clowns are adding huge quantities of “renewable energy” to the grid (as if energy was renewable).

      • This is just rich! Greece is building new coal-fired generating capacity because the European Court says they can.

        +++++++++

        Expressions of interest were from Beijing Guohua and Damco Energy, China Western Power Industrial, Sev.En Energy and Indoverse Coal Investments, Gek Terna, ElvalChalkor, as well as Mytilinaios Group.

        PPC is selling two plants in Megalopoli on the southern Peloponnese along with another plant and a license to build a new one in Meliti, northern Greece, after a European Union court ruled that the utility had abused its dominant position in the coal market.

  3. The Japanese cabinet approved a 2018 updated energy plan that of course includes a polite bow to the ‘sacred cow’:
    “This year’s plan includes a statement that the government will aim to make renewable energy Japan’s main source of power by 2050 and a policy to proactively tackle introduction and expansion of renewables. The 2030 targets, however, have been left unamended, with the energy mix set at 20% to 22% nuclear power, 22% to 24% renewable energy, and 56% thermal power”.
    https://www.nippon.com/en/currents/d00419/japan%E2%80%99s-energy-basic-plan-avoids-the-problems.html
    Same old Guardian lies, it looks like coal temporary, in part, replaced nuclear and is planned to return to its pre- Fukushima 25% fuel source share.

    • This is correct. The decision to turn some of the atomic power plants back on is one good reason not to build a new coal-fired one in the same neighbourhood.

      Old nukes are green, right?

  4. Guardian have a name of their own for bad journalism: “climate optimism“. It means everything the environment movement would like to happen is reported as if it’s happening. Climate optimism is a distinct strategy in pro-environment “news” reporting’. They believe constant bad news about the environment leads readers to pessimission; which, in turn, leads to inaction. Hence mandatory fake news to make us optimistic!

    I have a root cause solution to their dilemma: stop the fake pessimission, then you won’t need fake optimism.

      • But climate optimists also believe that (1) fossil fuels’ preeminent position is due to massive government subsidy in favour of fossil fuel. The failure of the renewables sector to take off is due to this continued fossil fuel subsidy. (2) Renewable energy is “free“. So after it reaches a critical mass it will just take off. Because free energy will make more of itself. This is all part of climate optimism. They are like the good communists who blamed the failure of the Soviet system on Western saboteurs. Some people have a near infinite capacity to delude themselves.

        • “If wishes were horses”… Climate optimists would all get unicorns for Christmas… 😉

  5. Japan. Built nukes on east coast in front of subduction zone prone to tsunamis without backup water tanks. After Fukishima, Japan went for coal. Then regulators realized that the cost to make the nukes stable was to install backup water tanks. The first nuke went back online two years ago with its new water tanks. Pay for water tanks. Pay for vast offshore wind farm exposed to typhoons. Pay for new power plants. They did the math. Because of bad press, nukes coming back online is not discussed, just cancellation of all the alternatives.

    • Going coal for Japan was a politically motivated reaction, that has come and gone. Fukishima is now in the past and water tanks solves their problem for backup cooling water.

      • I would so much like to have news from those experts, alike France’s Noel Mamère who personally urged the government to exfiltrate all French citizens from Japan before the unavoidable major nuclear blast.

        Or those self-proclaimed specialists in “china syndrome” physicists who claimed that the reaction has snowballed and out of control, big boom at 11:00 .

        Yes Ladies and Gentlemen nuclear disaster specialists, we have a couple of questions for you, care to answer them ?

    • It was always a non starter. It just doesn’t produce much energy, and never can. It’s a horrible thing, mathematics, with no concern for green feelings.

        • It has in South London. The South London Waste Partnership is paying Veolia to operate a large incinerator.
          Collecting the rubbish seems to be more problematic.
          See https://insidecroydon.com/ ad nauseum

          Auto [In fairness, most of my waste is collected on the day it should be! Not true for others!]

  6. Difficult to know what we we should call the Guardian newspaper these days. The Grauniad is too undefined for what it is doing. The Greeniad is closer and the Groaniad is probably closest.
    It has become the go to source of biased information by the COGS, i.e. the Constantly Offended Green Socialists.
    It is also going bust due to its narrow closed minded attitude, to opinions it refuses to hear.

  7. Reporters care of masses. This what I learned when a young one of them asked me details on rich guys landing in biz jets at Davos.

    Well, landing at Davos would be a very rough experience as the nearest to Davos biz-jet capable airfield is like 80 miles away.

    Aw, never mind, most readers won’t bother to know, thanks for the trouble anyway.

    • From that article:

      Industry news agency Platts reported one market source as saying that Australian thermal coal used for power generation has been “largely forgotten” by Chinese buyers as they switched preference to delay-free imports from Indonesia and Russia.

      This seems to be about national diplomacy not energy policy.
      Coal is coal.

      • Australian coal got too pricey… When Indonesian coal gets too pricey… Indonesia will get snubbed.

        • China is already in Africa looking for resources (Coal). It already took a punt on Aussie coal being too expensive (Leaving it in the ground), so it looked elsewhere (In 2006).

    • The reason that China is blocking coal is a consequence of its economic slowdown.
      https://www.cnbc.com/2019/01/21/china-2018-gdp-china-reports-economic-growth-for-fourth-quarter-year.html
      To save face it uses the economic slowdown as a reason to blame Australia for a recent speech in Singapore by the Minister for Defence.
      It did not like the tone.
      ‘It is no surprise, then, that militarisation has become a defining characteristics, with seven of the world’s ten largest standing armies in the Indo-Pacific.

      It is a region witnessing a major shift of global economic and political influence.

      It is seeing the rise of new powers and the re-emergence of old ones.

      It also plays host to the defining great power rivalry of our times – between the United States and China.

      The rules based global order continues to be challenged, and requires the reinforcement of all those committed to its continued operation.

      New and more insidious threats, particularly in the cyber realm, are challenging our security and law enforcement agencies, with little regard to borders.

      As new levels of connectivity and interdependence are brought about by advances in technology and communications, this threat cannot be dealt with by one nation alone.

      Oligarchies, as well as a host of non-state actors, pose new challenges to regional stability.

      This is a region on the move, and it is increasingly apparent that it is one in which partnership must be our direction forward.

      The Rules Based Global Order is under threat’……………..
      https://www.minister.defence.gov.au/minister/cpyne/speeches/fullerton-forum-keynote

      China, in the meanwhile is burning lots of coal.
      If you don’t want them to do so, just try a Green movement in China.
      Oppose destruction of reefs in the South China Sea, stop the mining and import of fossil fuels.
      As is now quoted a lot ‘Good luck with that’.

      • China is building lots of nuclear (5 plants per year) and has stopped supporting wind. It declared that wind was “destabilizing the power grid” when it became a significant player.
        Japan had shut down all of its nuclear plants after Fukushima and it was costing them plenty to replace the power with imported LNG, oil, etc. Japan’s nuclear regulatory agency really went overboard in requiring new safety devices ,etc. (Japan before Fukushima was very lax about nuclear safety) . Well ,all of the changes have been approved and Japan has restarted over 10 nuclear plants , which is roughly 50 or so total – probably will provide 25% of Japan’s power. LNG imports have dropped way down as the nuclear plants come online and reduce prices enormously.

    • Griff…

      Laughing my @$$ off is not an expression of anger.

      The links provided by the intrepjd Grauniad “journalists” denied their own headline.

      Leonard Nimoy? Or Zack Quinto?

      • I knew Griff would respond. It’s nice to see someone like you David who has actual real world experience, unlike The Guardian. As with my experience with Oil Search in PNG. It’s always good to refute the armchair “scientist” like Griff who rely on The Guardian for “science”.

        • For starters… I like Griff… to the extent I could like someone I’ve never met. I enjoy our “debates.” I also like batting practice… And the “journalists” at the Grauniad hang the best curve balls… 😉

          • For non baseball people, “hanging a curve ball” usually results in a home run for the other side. You hang a curve ball when the pitch is a little too far inside, a little too high and it ends up coming into the batter’s sweet spot resulting in a ball that is hit high and deep, usually over the fence.

          • I’m just as guilty of “inside baseball” lingo as I am of using oil industry jargon and just assuming everyone else understands what I’m saying… 😉

            Being a life-long NY Mets fan, I’ll never forget Met’s announcer Bob Murphy. From 1962 to 1968, the Mets were one of the worst teams in baseball history. They had a third baseman named Ed Charles. His nickname was “The Glider”… Whenever The Glider would hit a homerun (not very often), Murphy would proclaim, “Never hang a slider to The Glider”… Well DUH! Never hang breaking balls of any kind… Or even Mendoza Line batters will take you downtown!

          • Some of us have long held that Griff is a ringer, that he’s not really a climate change zealot, but is instead, a person engaged in the destruction of the climate change movement.

            Ask yourself, when was the last time Griff posted anything which wasn’t so wrong, so filled with logical fallacies, that it wasn’t quickly shown to be deserving of ridicule?

            Consider his offering today, which contained the seeds of it’s own destruction.
            Griff helps spread the word by highlighting that tangled web, woven in deceit.

            (We might be wrong and he really is that dumb.)

          • Shame on you David!

            Considering g as batting practice is just T-ball with wiffle balls.

            It is also obvious that g uses inflationary words, but fails to post any examples. Making it just another specious falsehood by g.

            PS: Great post, David. And I agree with Patrick MJD.

          • David “Being a life-long NY Mets fan”, I hope you have not forgotten Marvelous Marv.

      • The links provided by the intrepjd Grauniad “journalists” denied their own headline.

        griff could be an ” intrepjd Grauniad journalists” as he often posts links that deny the points for which he posted the links.

        • Come on John, we know griff has issues with reality, but to accuse him of being a Guardian Journo is a serious insult…..

    • Why stop reading it .. a bit humour for a day is always fun.

      The interesting question to ponder is how any company gets so many paid stupids to be able to work together, it must be like a laurel and hardy skit everyday.

    • “Well David it seems to me a lot of this website these days is angry denials of stuff posted in the Guardian.”
      To be fair it is a target rich environment 🙂

      And angry?
      Incredulous, astonished, astounded, sometimes resigned and often humorous too but hardly angry.

      • What griff is projecting is that posting (and ridiculing) Grauniad stuff makes him angry.

        To be fair it is a target rich environment 🙂

        indeed it is.

    • Interesting how refuting something gets relabeled as denying something.

      I guess that’s what it takes to keep griff’s love alive.

    • I haven’t read any angry denials. Comments are more satirical, focused on the low level of intellect displayed by the writers, who are so consumed by their false ideology that they have effectively lobotomized themselves into a form of zombie writers.

      btw – I notice that you don’t like the words of wisdome written here, but you still keep coming back. Why do you still keep reading WUWT ?

  8. The regular spelling mistakes that slipped past the sub editors were merely an amusing by-feature and the reason for the Gruaniad epithet, but it was twenty years ago a decent newspaper and its foreign news coverage was outstanding. Today its undertrained greentoady reporters and editors are busily financially burying the paper while facilitating the mass burials that will follow if the energy fantasies they ignorantly espouse are allowed to play out.
    The demise of the Guardian now would be a cause of celebration, which is sad really. I was a Guardian reader for thirty years, now I wouldn’t even use it to catch budgie cage crap. Even bird cage bottoms deserve better.

  9. When did coal become “thermal coal” and is it different to common or garden coal and I know coking coal is different and harder to find, hence the planned opening of a coking coal mine in Cumbria (NW England).

    • Thermal coal is a grade. Steam coal, in another age. The value of a low value commodity is the energy per $ to acquire and move it. If it has a high energy per unit mass, you can ship if farther profitably.

      Once a source has been chosen, the combustion system is tuned to the properties of the fuel. For example, if it has high ash like most South African high end coals, European boilers will not be usable. They just can’t deal with it. High ash coal like “Witbank A” must be supplied to high ash designed boilers or they melt. That has happened recently with massive, expensive results. Over a billion Rand.

      Semi-anthricitic coal with low ash is valuable for “raising steam” because it has a lot of energy, on the order of more than 30 MJ per kg.

      You may have heard of a “coking coal” which happens to have the right properties (after roasting out the volatiles) for steel making. An example is Alag Tolgoi in Mongolia which sells coking coal to China.

      Australia has a lot of thermal coal. In Shanxi Province of China the coal is pretty good but in the SW it is heavily contaminated by arsenic and fluorine. That requires significant clean-up measures post-combustion.

  10. After 2013 global coal production went down and 5 years later it hasn’t recovered yet. This was totally unexpected and nobody had predicted it. It shows the dangers of linearly extrapolating into the future. Coal decrease was an important factor contributing to the slow growth in emissions for that period.

      • Not so minuscule. A linear extrapolation of world coal consumption during the previous 10 years (2004-2013) gives an expected production for 2017 of 4532 Mtoe. Since only 3769 were produced in 2017 according to BP that means a 16% decrease that year over normal growth.

        A 16% decrease over a linear increase prediction is not a minuscule drop. The loss over expected growth for the 2014-2017 period is 2100 Mtoe, more than half of a year’s production. You get that in a company you get substituted.

  11. The continued attempt by PSYCHOTIC leaders (at best, tyrants most likely—makes certain past leaders look tame) will lead to a massive world war to take back the planet. These people are INSANE—they deny reality. People will be forced to remove the diseased from the planet in self-defense. This does not end well for anyone. I know the psychotic leaders want to destroy human life, but humans may not be in favor of this and line up quietly. I doubt they will be and unlike the last mass murder scheme, it will be harder to fool the population this time. This is turning to a world destroying direction. This is NOT about probabilistic science models—these are REAL people who will fight back when you take their heat and their food and their lives. Even in Venezuela, the people do fight back. It’s just a question of when it starts.

  12. Is there another kind?

    Isn’t that descriptive of the MSM in general?

    Have you looked at the CV’s of the millennial twit snowflakes writing all these climate change articles?

    Guess their other employment option was Burger King. No actual research or expertise required there, either.

  13. Sadly, this is how the left wins. The original article will be read by hundreds of thousands of people, all of whom will have then been reinforced with the idea that renewables are in, coal and oil are out. And they will be further reinforced by dozens of additional articles and television reports weekly, all in the same vein.

    Meanwhile, only a few thousand of us will even encounter, much less read, the article that shreds the original.

    That said, the Dutch news today, when combined with the failure of the average American voter to put climate change anywhere in the top ten concerns even after years of outright propagandizing, is encouraging.

  14.  “In Japan’s latest energy strategy published in June, coal remains a major part of the energy mix into the future. Currently, the coal fleet in Japan is growing, not decreasing: At the moment, 35 new coal power plant are in the pipeline all over Japan, adding to the around 100 coal plants already in operation. ”

    https://thediplomat.com/2018/10/abes-coal-addiction/

  15. “A study by green campaigners CoalSwarm shows 259 gigawatts (GW) of coal-fired capacity under development in China.This is almost equivalent to the total installed coal power capacity in the U.S. of 266 GW.

    “This would mean a 25% increase in China’s current 993 GW of coal power capacity to 1252, pushing well past the stated national 1100 GW cap for coal-fired power.The build-up in China, which already has half of the world’s coal power capacity, has implications for coal supplying countries such as Australia and will mean that China is unlikely to be able to meet Paris climate goals.

    https://www.businessinsider.com.au/china-coal-fired-power-station-buildup-2018-9 

  16. I loved David Pemsel’s remark that print sales were “less bad than forecast”! That really doesn’t bode well for the paper.

    It’s worth knowing that a large proportion of the print sales are to the BBC. One failing legacy media organisation trying to prop up another.

  17. That China’s economic growth for 2018 was “only”6.6% and they needed less coal, is a surprise? High growth rates are normal for a country developing its potential, but it is an asymptotic metric. A China that doubled and redoubled its economy is still surging ahead on this larger base at 6.6%. There is no doubt this is due to come down and aided by US pressure to rebalance the trade deficit it will hurry it up. 3% growth is in the cards in a few years.

  18. Black is white. Up is down. Truth is lie. Normal is abnormal. War is peace. Coal is finished. All false of course.

    Lefty/Greenie Newspeak is bollocks. All too true.

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