As Asia Decarbonizes, the Region's Coal Asset Owners Must Plan Ahead

Sep 7, 2021 9:00 AM ET

As nations across the globe attempt to mitigate climate change, asset owners in coal power will need to take action to prevent stranded assets. In Asia, demand for electricity continues to increase against a backdrop of growing pressure to decarbonize. To balance the two needs, utility operators with long-term capital in coal-fired generation must prepare their assets for retirement, repurposing with affordable or alternative generation, or diversifying their business portfolios.

In an article published by Eco-Business, Narsingh Chaudhary, executive vice president & managing director of Black & Veatch’s Asia power business, and Harry Harji, associate vice president for Black & Veatch’s management consulting business in Asia, explicate the need for asset owners to lessen their reliance on coal plants.

The article cites Black & Veatch’s Strategic Directions: Electric Industry Asia 2021 report, noting that “only 18 percent of respondents see a future for coal-fired power generation beyond 2035.”

Chaudhary and Harji lay out several options for asset-owners looking to ensure long-term economic viability, including: conversion to natural gas, biomass or hydrogen; adopting carbon capture, utilization and storage (CCUS) technologies or retrofitting plants with emissions control systems; and choosing to decommission aged coal assets to repurpose or repower them.

For each asset owner, the path forward will look different. But the need for preparation remains constant across all options.

“Identifying the right decarbonisation path will require meticulous planning, market analysis, evaluations of multiple sustainable technology alternatives, cost economics and return on investment certainty within a tangible period,” write Chaudhary and Harji in the article.