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Every Coal Power Plant in the World (1927-2019)

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If you live in a developed country, it’s been clear that the appetite for coal power is falling.

Not only has coal been singled out as a primary source of carbon emissions and air pollution, but it’s also been getting phased out in favor of cheap natural gas in some regions around the world.

In the U.S., electricity generation from coal has been dropping since the late 2000s, and in Europe the departure from coal has accelerated even quicker. In fact, it’s estimated that European coal power output could fall 23% in 2019 alone.

A Different Global Story

However, despite a growing consensus around the use of thermal coal in the West, the global story is actually quite different.

Today’s animation from SVT Nyheter details every coal power plant in the world from 1927 to 2019, and it shows that coal power — especially in South Asia — has continued to ramp up.

As of 2019, there are an estimated 2,425 coal-fired power plants in the world, combining for an operating capacity of about 2,000 GW and roughly 15 billion tonnes of CO₂ emissions.

Global Tipping Point?

Since 2010, there have been hundreds of new coal power plants commissioned — and almost all of them can be found somewhere in Asia:

CountryCoal capacity (2010)Coal capacity (2018)% change (2010-2018)
🇨🇳 China 630,238 MW972,514 MW+54%
🇮🇳 India100,037 MW220,670 MW+121%
Other Asia127,515 MW191,088 MW+50%

However, it seems that this could be the year that the story changes.

Preliminary data suggests that Indian coal consumption could drop in 2019 for the first time in over a decade. Meanwhile, it’s expected that China’s growing coal capacity could be fully offset by decreasing use of the fossil fuel in developed nations.

As a result, according to Carbon Brief, global coal power generation could fall 3% in 2019:

If this trend continues, it could be a sign of a tipping point in global coal consumption — and if the sentiment around coal shifts the same way in China, the potential impact could be amplified even further.

Will 2020 provide additional evidence towards a global sea change in coal dependence, or is 2019 just a blip on the radar?

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Energy

Visualizing Saudi Aramco’s Massive Oil Reserves

Saudi Aramco controls almost 259 billion barrels worth of oil and gas reserves.

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Visualizing Saudi Aramco’s Massive Oil Reserves

This was originally posted on our Voronoi app. Download the app for free on iOS or Android and discover incredible data-driven charts from a variety of trusted sources.

Saudi Aramco controls 259 billion barrels worth of oil and gas reserves, which is unmatched by any other company globally. This is a key factor in the company’s massive $1.8 trillion valuation.

To illustrate that, this chart compares the proved reserves of major oil companies as of 2022. Data was compiled by Statista from various company reports.

Crown Jewel

Saudi Aramco is the national oil company of Saudi Arabia. As of 2024, it is the sixth-largest company in the world by market capitalization.

Its oil reserves are over four times bigger than the reserves of all the other six companies on our list combined.

CompanyProved reserves (billion barrels of oil equivalent)
Saudi Aramco258.8
ExxonMobil17.7
Chevron11.2
Total Energies10.2
Shell9.6
BP7.2
Eni6.6

Behind Saudi Aramco, American company ExxonMobil comes in second with 17.7 billion barrels of oil equivalent, followed by another American company, Chevron, with 11.2 billion barrels of oil equivalent.

Saudi Aramco produces 9 million barrels of oil a day, more than any other firm and nearly a tenth of the world’s total.

In addition, the state-run oil giant is the world’s most profitable company, generating $722 billion in profits between 2016 and 2023.

Saudi Aramco is also expected to play a big part in Saudi Arabia’s plans to diversify its economy and reduce oil dependence. Recently, Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman confirmed that the kingdom is in talks to sell a 1% stake in the state oil giant, which could help fund the country’s projects in clean energy and technology.

If you enjoyed this post, be sure to check out this graphic, which ranks oil production by country.

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