Coal continues to be a major source of power generation though many new sources of electricity have emerged in the past few decades. According to World Coal Association, coal-fired power plants currently account for 41% of global electricity. Coal-fired power plants use steam coal as source to generate electricity.
As coal power plants emit a significant amount of harmful gases into the atmosphere, they are currently being replaced by natural gas, renewables, and nuclear power. In a bid to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, some developed nations have already announced plans to phase out coal-fired power plants. In November 2016, the Canadian government had announced plans to phase out its coal-fired power plants by 2030. In the same month, the UK government had outlined plans to phase out coal-fired power plants by 2025.
Here is the list of world’s biggest coal power plants:
Datang Tuoketuo power station, China: With a capacity of 6.7GW, Datang Tuoketuo power station is located in Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, China. Initially, the coal-based power station consisted of eight 600MW generating units commissioned between 2003 and 2006. 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 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) plant. The plant uses bituminous coal as fuel. Between 1995 and 2007, eight 500MW units were built for the power plant. The plant supplies electricity to the South Korean capital and the surrounding regions. In 2012, Hitachi and Daelim Industrial secured a contract for supply of two boilers of 1,050MW-class for units 9 & 10 at the coal-fired thermal power plant. The unit 10 started generating power in February 2017.
Image: Taean Thermal Power Plant starting power generation. Photo courtesy of Daelim.
Dangjin power station, South Korea: Operated by Korea East-West Power Company, the 6GW Dangjin Thermal Power Plant is located in the north-westerly province of Chungcheongnamdo. Consisting of eight 500MW units in the beginning, the power plant saw the addition two additional 1,020MW units in 2016. The main fuel for the power plant is bituminous coal. According to the company website, the annual generation capacity of the plant was 32,547GWh in 2016.
Taichung power station, Taiwan: With a capacity of 5.7GW, it is one of the world’s biggest power plants. The coal fired power station is owned and operated by the state-owned Taiwan Power Company (Taipower). It began operations in 1992 with the commissioning of four 550MW units. The capacity of the power station was increased after the addition of two 550MW units were commissioned in 2005-2006. GE and Toshiba were the suppliers of the coal-fired steam turbines for the plant. A significant part of the coal used by the plant is sourced from Australia, United States, South Africa and Indonesia under long-term contracts.
Image: Taichung Power Plant, Longjing District, Taichung City, Taiwan. Photo courtesy of Chongkian/Wikipedia.
Belchatow power complex, Poland: Located at Belchatów in the lódz province of Poland, the Belchatow power complex 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, with each having a rated capacity of 360MW. The power plant saw its generating capacity increased through modernization and expansion progarmmes. In 2011, the capacity was increased by 858MW with the addition of a supercritical unit.
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 sub-critical, 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 spot in the list of world’s biggest coal power plants. Originally, the power plant has four generating units. In 2014, the unit 1 and 2 with 800MW started commercial operations. KEPCO E&C had secured contract to supply 800MW units for the Yeongheung power plant.
Guodian Beilun power station, China: Located in the Beilun District of Ningbo City in Zhejiang Province, China, the 5GW coal-fired power plant is owned and operated by Guodian Zhejiang Beilun Power Generation Company, a subsidiary of the state-owned China Guodian Corporation. It occupies eight spot in the world’s biggest coal power plants. The power plant features five 600MW subcritical units and two 1,000MW ultra-supercritical generating units. The units were developed in three phases. With a designed annual generation capacity is about 27.5 billion kWh, the power produced by the plant is connected to the East China Power Grid through two 500KV transmission lines.