This is due to to high fuel costs (capacity weighted average of $85/t). 95% of the coal fleet will be cash-flow negative by 2040, due to carbon pricing & air pollution regulation, Carbon Tracker further estimates.
The results suggest it will be cheaper for China to build new onshore wind than operate coal by 2021, & solar PV by 2025. And Chinese coal power owners can avoid losing $390 bn by retiring the operating fleet in a manner consistent with the Paris Agreement.
This rather begs the question if “if so obvious, why are building new plants?”. Here I suppose the answer lies in the remit of neuroscientists: the Chinese – like the Brits, Americans and others – have diehards of the fossil-fuel establishment who are determined to die hard rather than betray their belief systems in the face of inconvenient economic facts.
Anyway, another grounder-breaking report by the team at Carbon Tracker.
Images: from report