U.S. Coal-to-Liquid Plant Nixed, While China Bankrolls New Coal

As we’ve been mapping the shuttering of coal-powered projects here in the U.S., China has been opening, on average, 1.5 GW of coal power plants a week. Yesterday, we noticed a link: An $800 million coal-to-liquids plant planned for West Virginia was nixed due to a lack of available capital (hat tip GreenWire). The plant, which was a joint effort between mining giant Consol Energy and the gasification company Synthesis Energy Systems, was to produce about 100 million gallons of 87-octane gasoline from coal a year. (We’ve added the dead coal-to-fluid plant to our Coal Death Watch map with a new purple pin.)

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So what’s a coal project developer to do? Head to China, apparently. The same day that SES shut down the U.S. project, the Houston-based company announced a new joint venture in China with the YIMA Coal Group. The coal gasification plant, to be located in China’s Henan Province, will cost an estimated $350 million and be financed by Chinese banks. Increasingly, Chinese banks are slashing interest rates in order to attract more foreign investment, so we can likely expect more big energy projects to open up across the Pacific.


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