Scientific American – The Carbon Monitoring for Action (CARMA) tool produced by the Center for Global Development has a database of 60,000 power plants worldwide with emissions data going back to 2004.
Seven of the world’s 10 dirtiest power plants are in Asia — though none in China. On the other hand, China’s state-owned power companies accounted for five of the top seven highest-emitting utility companies.
China, she said, invested millions of dollars in closing down inefficient coal-fired power plants, a move for which the country was highly lauded. But part of that deal, she noted, included the recycling and sale of China’s boilers to Indonesia.
“Some of these plants were not efficient by China’s standards but were fine by Indonesia’s standards,” she said. Ummel also pointed to Pakistan, where the power sector is hungry but few standards are in place to ensure even incrementally cleaner growth.
The data underscore vast technology improvements in China over the past five years. In 2004, he said, China had almost no pollution controls on its power plants. Now, almost one-quarter do, on par with the United States. Similarly, no power plants in China used supercritical technology in 2004, but five years later about a quarter of the fleet was outfitted.
Big green power plants are usually nuclear power or hydro power. Solar and wind are small power plants
Three of the world’s top-emitting power plants were in South Korea, the others being in Poland and Taiwan. He attributed the surprising finding to the fact that South Korea has built a handful of large plants between 4,000 and 5,000 megawatts, while China has hundreds of 500 to 700 MW plants.