Coal and Coronavirus

From Global Energy Monitor
This article is part of Global Energy Monitor's coverage of the COVID-19 pandemic.

This page lists coal projects such as power plants, mines, and terminals whose development or sale has been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic that was declared by the World Health Organization in March 2020.[1]

Coal plants

List of delays

Table of Coal-fired Power Plant Construction Delayed by COVID-19 workforce or supply chain issues

Project Size (MW) Estimated Cost (Billion US$)
Bangko Tengah (SS-8) power station 1,200 1.9
Bengkulu power station 200 0.6
Cirebon power station 1,000 1.3
Dinginin power station 1,336 2.1
Duyên Hải-2 power station 1,600 2.6
Jawa-7 power station 2,000 3.2
Kalbar-1 power station 200 0.3
Kalselteng-1 power station 200 0.3
Nagan Raya power station 400 0.6
Payra power station 1,320 2.1
Rampal power station 1,320 1.5
Sulbagut-1 power station 100 0.2
Sulbagut-3 power station 100 0.2
Sumsel-1 power station 600 1.0
Tanjung Jati B power station 2,000 3.2
Thar Block II power station 660 0.8
Total 14,436 21.9

Note: Capital outlay estimates based on US$1,200/kW in South Asia and US$1,600/kW in Southeast Asia.[2]


In February 2020, the India-based Business Standard reported that commercial commissioning of the 1,320 MW Payra power station in Bangladesh was experiencing delays due to the Coronavirus. According to the acting managing director of Bangladesh-China Power Company Limited: "We cannot do the post-test-run maintenance as some workers are stuck in China in the wake of the coronavirus epidemic."[3] However, according to New Age of Bangladesh, the main issue facing the commissioning of the plant is the lack of adequate transmission: "In the test run, the first unit of the plant could never reach its full generation capacity because of low capacity transmission line," according to Payra project director Shah Abdul Moula.[4]

In July 2020, it was reported in Bangladeshi media that the coronavirus pandemic was contributing to the construction of the Rampal power station running far behind schedule at only 50% complete and significantly over-budget. Construction of the highly controversial plant on a site adjacent to the UNESCO protected Sunderbans mangrove forest was supposed to have been completed by June 2020.[5]


As the worst effects of COVID-19 in China began to subside, new coal plant permitting in the country surged. From 1 to 18 of March 2020, more coal-fired capacity was permitted for construction in China (7,960 MW) than in all of 2019 (6,310 MW). The increase may signal a move by government officials to use new coal plants as a means to boost the country's domestic economy after the slowdown from COVID-19.

Coal-fired Power Plants Permitted for Construction in China in March 2020

Project Size (MW)
CPI Baiyinhua power station 1,320
Diantou power station 1,320
Fu County power station 2,000
Fugu Qingshuichuan power station 2,000
Yanghuopan power station 1,320
Total 7,960

Dominican Republic

In May 2020 the Dominican government's plan to sell a 50% stake in the Punta Catalina Power Central was put on hold until after presidential elections scheduled for July. Unfavourable economic conditions brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic were cited as the reason for the delay.[6]


Specific delays or cancellations of coal-fired plants had not been announced as of mid-March 2020. However the Indian government has announced that project developers will be allowed to invoke force majeure clauses and avoid penalties for delays that are the result of COVID-19.[7]

Additionally, restrictions introduced to combat the spread of the coronavirus may cause a lack of spare parts from Chinese suppliers for coal plants and coal mines in India. PwC India estimates that about 30 per cent of the 62,000 MW of coal projects under construction in India rely on Chinese suppliers.[8][9]

On April 2, Singareni Collieries Company Limited laid off their underground miners in the state of Telangana, India, to protect miners against the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic. According to Miriyala Raji Reddy, a union leader, about 2,000 miners were engaged in underground operations.[10]

Three of Karnataka Power Corporation's coal plants were temporarily shut down in June 2020 due to a slump in energy demand in Karnataka as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. The Times of India reported that this is the first time since 1986 that all three facilities, comprising 13 thermal units, have been switched off.[11]


In March 2020 several Independent Power Producers (IPP's) in Indonesia declared force majeure and announced a list of coal power projects whose development would be impacted or delayed by Coronavirus.[12] The Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources (ESDM) said delays could potentially occur due to obstruction of supply and raw material for the plant components, and travel restrictions that would reduce the labor supply.[12]

Category One delays: IPP's declared force majeure and announced delays for these coal-fired plants: the 1,000-MW Cirebon power station, the 2 x 1,000-MW Jawa-7 power station, the 2 x 100-MW Bengkulu power station, the 2 x 200-MW Nagan Raya power station, the 2 x 300 MW Sumsel-1 power station, and the 2 x 600 MW Bangko Tengah (SS-8) power station.[12]

Category Two delays: IPP's declared that the following projects would also be affected and potentially delayed: the 2 x 1,000 MW Tanjung Jati B power station, the 2 x 100 MW Kalbar-1 power station, the 2 x 100 MW Kalbar-2 power station, the 2 x 100 MW Kalselteng-1 power station, the 2 x 50 MW Sulbagut-1 power station, and the 2 x 50 MW Sulbagut-3 power station.

On March 23, 2020, it was reported that residents of Gelanggang Merak Hamlet had asked the owners of the Nagan Raya-3 and Nagan Raya-4 plant to stop transporting materials to these plants' construction site as dust from trucks poses a risks to people who have contracted COVID-19.[13]

On March 24, 2020 it was reported that construction and labor negotiations were being delayed due to the COVID-19-related travel ban preventing employees of Guangdong Engineering from returning from China.[14]


In February 2020 it was reported that plans to bring in 120 workers from China to Pakistan to work on phase II of the Thar Block II power station and coal mine were being delayed, which would result in delays to the project timeline.[15] According to the Council on Foreign Relations, China’s COVID-19 response "all but halted the Belt and Road Initiative in its tracks" and "work has ceased along the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor."[16]


In February 2020 GNPower announced that further construction of the 668-MW Dinginin power station in Central Luzon would be delayed because Chinese engineers who will be part of the plant’s testing and commissioning processes were subject to a COVID-related travel ban.[17] Unit 1 was scheduled to go online in June 2020 and Unit 2 in September 2020 but the Philippine Electric Power Industry Management Bureau (EPIMB) and Department of Energy (DOE) confirmed that Dinginin was no longer included in the country's expected additional power supply for summer 2020.[17] On March 18, 2020 GNPower announced a new target date of October 2020 for commissioning Unit 1. The company also announced that Unit 2 would be delayed as a result of COVID-19 related labor shortages.[18]

On March 18, 2020, Manila Electric Company (Meralco) announced that due to health and safety issues posed by the coronavirus outbreak it had temporarily stopped pre-construction "site activities" on various power projects, including at the proposed Atimonan coal-fired power station in Quezon province. At the Quezon power station, its 500MW thermal coal facility in operation, the company said that "a skeleton workforce" continues to oversee operations.[19]

United States

On April 14, Longview Power, a West Virginia-based coal plant operator, announced that they were filing for bankruptcy due to a decreased demand for electricity, which is tied to the Covid-19 pandemic.[20] The company says that the 700-megawatt coal-fired power plant that they oversee in West Virginia will continue operating during the bankruptcy.


On March 6, 2020 it was reported that construction of the 2 x 600 MW Duyên Hải-2 power station would be impacted by COVID-19 and that its estimated completion date of 2021 might be delayed.[21] On May 6, 2020, it was reported that logistical problems are delaying four coal plants in Vietnam.[22] Foreign workers for the Hai Duong plant (1,200 MW) in the northern province of Hai Duong and for the Duyen Hai 2 plant (1,200 MW) in the Mekong province of Tra Vinh were not being permitted to enter Vietnam.[22] Engineering and the procurement of supplies and materials from China has been affected at the Van Phong 1 plant (1,320 MW) in Khanh Hoa province.[22] The development of Nghi Son-2 (1,320 MW) has also been delayed.[22]

Coal mines

For impacts of the coronavirus pandemic on coal mines and miners, see Coal Mine Impacts from COVID-19

Coal terminals


In March 2020 Brookfield Asset Management announced that it was delaying the listing for sale of its US$2 billion Dalrymple Bay Coal Terminal (DBCT) in Queensland, Australia, due to COVID-19. Brookfield specifically cited the volatility of financial markets and travel bans on bankers, financiers, and lawyers need to list and sell the terminal as reasons for the delay.[23]

South Africa

In late March 2020, the Richards Bay Coal Terminal, one of the world's largest coal terminals and the largest in Africa, halted operations due to South Africa's 21 day nationwide lockdown in response to the coronavirus.[24]

Resources and articles


  1. Jaime Gumbrecht and Jacqueline Howard, WHO declares novel coronavirus outbreak a pandemic, CNN, Mar. 11, 2020
  2. South Asia figure references India. SE Asia ($1,600) is midpoint interpolation between EU ($2,000) and India ($1,200)."World Energy Model Documentation 2019," Table 6, International Energy Agency
  3. "Coronavirus stalls Payra plant commissioning," Business Standard, Feb 5, 2020
  4. "Payra power plant set to become economic burden on Bangladesh," New Age, March 14, 2020
  5. Humayan Kabir, "Rampal project in slow lane," The Financial Express, Jul. 11, 2020
  6. [1], Dominican Today, May 6, 2020
  7. Indian coal-fired power sector braces for coronavirus, Argus Media, Mar. 12, 2020
  8. "Indian coal-fired power sector braces for coronavirus". Argus Media. 2020-03-12. Retrieved 2020-03-19.
  9. "PSPCL shuts thermal plants as demand dips". Tribune India News Service. 2020-03-13. Retrieved 2020-03-19.
  10. Gali Nagaraia, COVID-19 Threat: Underground Operations at Singareni Coal Mines Come to a Halt, The Wire, April 2, 2020
  11. Sandeep Moudgal, COVID-19 Demand shock shuts Karnataka’s three thermal power plants, The Times of India, Aug. 22, 2020
  12. 12.0 12.1 12.2 Jadwal operasional pembangkit terganggu wabah corona, ini tanggapan PLN, Kontan, Mar. 8, 2020
  13. Masyarakat minta Pemerintah Stop Aktivitas Pengangkutan Pembangunan PLTU 3-4 Nagan Raya, Aceh Portal, Mar. 23, 2020
  14. Tuntutan Pekerja PT. GPEC PLTU Sumsel 1 Dipenuhi, Gatra, Mar. 24, 2020
  15. "The shadow of the coronavirus on Pakistan," Eco-Business, Feb 4, 2020
  16. "What the COVID-19 Pandemic May Mean for China's Belt and Road Initiative," Council on Foreign Relations, March 17, 2020
  17. 17.0 17.1 COVID-19 delays comm’l operations of Dinginin power plant, Manila Bulletin, Feb. 24, 2020
  18. Bataan coal plant completion delayed, Philippine Star, Mar. 18, 2020
  19. Meralco unit stops work on power projects, Manila Bulletin, Mar. 27, 2020
  20. Brittany Patterson, W.Va.’s Longview Power Declares Bankruptcy Citing Low Energy Prices, Coronavirus, West Virginia Public Broadcasting, April 14, 2020
  21. Hiep Thanh Wind Power project: deadline well within reach, Energy Central, Mar. 6, 2020
  22. 22.0 22.1 22.2 22.3 Covid-19 tác động tới tiến độ nhiều dự án điện, Bao Dau Thau, May 6, 2020
  23. Paulina Duran and Scott Murdoch, Brookfield halts $2-billion sale of Australian coal port due to coronavirus: sources, Financial Post, Mar. 11, 2020
  24. Anglo American sees lower 2020 S African thermal coal output on coronavirus, S&P Global, March 27, 2020.