FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享China Dialogue:Bangladesh’s minister of power, energy and mineral resources, Nasrul Hamid, surprised energy watchers recently when he said the country is planning to “review” all but three of 29 planned coal plants.“We are keeping the three coal-fired power plants that are under construction. At present, we are aiming for [40 to 41GW of total generation capacity], where only 5GW is coal based,” said Minister Hamid during a webinar run by the Centre for Policy Dialogue. “We are reviewing how we can move from coal-based power plants.”Bangladesh has one of the largest coal power pipelines in the world, a total of 29 power plants amounting to 33.2GW of capacity, according to a 2019 study by an Australian organisation that tracks fossil fuel investment. If the minister’s comments become government policy, up to 26 power plants accounting for 28GW of capacity could be put under review. That’s 90% of the coal pipeline.“It would dramatically swing the nation’s power development away from coal,” said Simon Nicholas, energy finance analyst with the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA).“Coal power is no more a cheap option and it’s becoming more expensive for imported coal. Hence, the government is reconsidering its earlier plan on coal-power generation in its energy mix”, Mohammad Hossain, director general of the ministry’s research body, Power Cell, commented in the webinar, echoing Minister Hamid’s suggestion to review coal power plans.The 29 coal power plants currently in Bangladesh’s pipeline are at varying stages of development. The three that Minister Hamid suggested will continue as planned – Rampal, Matarbari and Payra – have entered construction and are nearing completion. Their financiers include Chinese, Japanese and Indian export credit and international cooperation agencies. Other projects have signed engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) deals, equity investment deals or are only at the stage of memoranda of understanding.Though of a much larger scale than elsewhere, Bangladesh’s potential pivot from coal is not an isolated incident this year. In June, the 700MW Qasim coal power project in Pakistan was cancelled, in large part due to lack of demand. A number of Vietnam’s coal power projects, long plagued with financing and construction start problems, are also looking increasingly unfeasible in the post-Covid world. In a consultation session held earlier this month, Vietnam’s Energy Institute suggested that the country’s next decade-long power plan due to come into force next year could see up to 9.5GW of planned coal capacity cancelled and 7.5GW postponed until at least 2030, about half of the country’s total planned coal power.[Tom Baxter]More: Bangladesh may ditch 90% of its planned coal power Bangladesh taking second look at 28GW of planned coal-fired generating capacity
Kyrkans Pensionskassa, the pension fund for the Swedish Church, is adapting its strategic portfolio to account for lower return expectations, after first-half results for 2015 fell sharply compared with 2014.In its interim report, the pension fund said its total return for January to June 2015 fell to 2.7% from the 8.7% achieved in the same period last year.For the whole of 2014, the pension fund produced a 19.2% return.The pension fund said it was changing its strategic investment aims because of the low-yield environment. Carl Cederberg, Kyrkans Pensionskassa’s chief executive, said: “The lower yields mean it will probably become much tougher to achieve returns that will adequately match the pension fund’s liabilities.”Because of this, the pension fund hae proactively changed its investment guidelines to minimise its sensitivity to rising market yields, he said.“For this reason we have started to adjust the strategic portfolio for possible lower expected returns,” Cederberg added.He said the pension fund’s financial position had strengthened over the latest six and 12-month periods, as a result of which, the bonus rate had been hiked twice and now stands at 14%.It was an advantage for the pension fund to be in such a strong financial position given current low yields, as it increased the opportunity to take risk and allocate assets in the best way, he said.Kyrkans Pensionskassa’s solvency level rose to 168% at the end of June from 162% at the end of December 2014.Among the pension fund’s four asset classes — equities, fixed income, property and alternative investments — equities generated the highest return in the first half, with 10.7% compared to 10.3% in the same period last year.Fixed income showed the weakest performance, with a 2% loss against an 8.4% profit in the first half of 2014.On the business side, the pension fund’s premium income was up significantly in the first half of this year, rising to SEK560m (€58.4m) from SEK160m in the first half of 2014, and up from SEK185m in the whole of 2014.Total assets grew to SEK14.9bn from SEK14.1bn.