This paper attempts to quantify global development of coal- and natural gas-based power between 2003 and 2016 by analyzing the progression of individual coal and natural gas power units of 100 megawatts or greater as reported by S&P Global Platts. About 1,000 gigawatts (GW) of new coal capacity entered service worldwide in this period, nearly doubling the world coal power fleet. About 96% of this new capacity was built in 10 countries led by China and India. The momentum of global coal power development has slowed since 2014 with cancelled, deferred, or delayed capacity in 2016 more than quintupling that reported in 2013. This slowdown occurred mainly in China and India, where 426 GW of coal capacity were cancelled during 2015 and 2016, while only 26 GW was built. The vast majority of the new coal capacity built in Germany, Japan, and South Korea since 2003, and the majority in China since 2008, use supercritical or ultra-supercritical (USC) technologies. Subcritical technology still prevails among units constructed in developing countries, but USC units are being built in all the top 10 countries except the United States, where no new coal power plant is currently under construction.

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