Coal continues to be a major source of power generation though many new sources of electricity have emerged in the past few decades
Despite its negative implications for the environment, coal still accounts for roughly 40% of the world’s electricity – courtesy of a wide number of gigantic power plants.
In a bid to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, many developed nations have already announced plans to phase out coal-fired plants, such as Canada, which aims to phase out its coal-fired power plants by 2030.
In the UK, the government announced in November 2016 it will phase out its facilities by as soon as 2025.
Here we profile eight of the world’s biggest coal power plants.
World’s biggest coal power plants
Datang Tuoketuo power station, China
The 6.7GW Datang Tuoketuo power station is located in Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, China.
Initially, the coal-based power station comprised eight 600MW units commissioned between 2003 and 2006 before, in 2011, two additional 300MW units were installed to increase the production.
In 2017, the plant’s capacity was again increased with the addition of another two units with a combined capacity of 1,320MW.
The fuel is sourced from the Junggar Coalfield located 50km away from the plant.
Taean power station, South Korea
Located in Chungcheongnam-do, South Korea, the 6.1GW Taean power station stands second in the list of world’s biggest coal power plants.
It also features a 300MW integrated gasification combined cycle (IGCC) generator, which uses uses bituminous coal as fuel.
Between 1995 and 2007, eight 500MW units were built for the power plant, which supplies electricity primarily to the South Korean capital and surrounding regions.
In 2012, Japanese conglomerate Hitachi and petrochemicals group Daelim Industrial secured a contract for supply of two boilers of 1,050MW-class for units nine and ten at the coal-fired thermal power plant.
Dangjin Thermal Power Plant, South Korea
Operated by Korea East-West Power Company, the 6GW Dangjin Thermal Power Plant is located in the north-westerly province of Chungcheongnam-do (Chungnam).
Initially comprising eight 500MW units, the power plant was augmented with two additional 1,020MW units in 2016.
The main fuel for the power plant is bituminous coal and, according to Korea East-West Power Company, its annual generation capacity was 32,000GWh in 2016.
Taichung Power Plant, Taiwan
The 5.7GW Taichung Power Plant is owned and operated by the state-owned Taiwan Power Company (Taipower).
It began operations in 1992 with the commissioning of four 550MW units before this was increased by the installation of two new 550MW units between 2005 and 2006.
US multinational General Electric (GE) and Japanese conglomerate Toshiba supply the coal-fired steam turbines for the station, with a large portion of its coal coming from Australia, the US, South Africa and Indonesia under long-term contracts.
Belchatow Power Station, Poland
Located at Belchatów in the Lódz province of Poland, the Belchatow Power Station is the fifth biggest coal-fired power plant in the world.
With a capacity of 5.3GW, the thermal power station is owned and operated by PGE Elektrownia Belchatow, a subsidiary of Polska Grupa Energetyczna.
In 1988, the plant started its operations with 12 generating units, each having a 360MW capacity.
Over time, he power plant’s generating capacity was enhanced through various modernisation and expansion programmes such as in 2011 when an 858MW supercricital unit was installed.
Waigaoqiao Power Station, China
Owned and operated by Shanghai Electric Power Company, a subsidiary of the state-run China Power Investment Corporation (CPIC), the 5.1GW Waigaoqiao Power Station is located in the Pudong New Area of Shanghai.
Commissioned in three phases between 1994 and 2008, the plant features four 300MW subcritical, two 900MW super critical and two 1,000MW ultra supercritical generating units.
Fuel for the power plant is sourced from the Shenfu Dongshen coal field located in Inner Mongolia.
Yeongheung power station, South Korea
With a design capacity of 5080MW, the Yeongheung power station stands at seventh in the list of world’s biggest coal power plants.
Originally, the power plant had four generating units, but in 2014, the then-inactive units one and two started commercial operations, bringing their combined 800MW to bear.
Guodian Beilun Power Station, China
Located in the Beilun District of Ningbo City in Zhejiang Province, China, the 5GW coal-fired Guodian Beilun Power Station is owned and operated by Guodian Zhejiang Beilun Power Generation Company, a subsidiary of the state-owned China Guodian Corporation.
As the eighth-largest power plant in the world, it features five 600MW subcritical units and two 1,000MW ultra-supercritical generating units.
With a designed annual generation capacity of about 27,000kWh, the power produced by the plant is connected to the East China Power Grid through two 500KV transmission lines.