'Green' Funding for Coal Power Plants CriticisedMoney intended to support clean energy will instead by used for dirty coal-fire power plants. Fortunately, the US has withdrawn its funding of the scheme.
A clean tech fund that was the brainchild of George W Bush has come under fire for promoting coal power plants in developing countries.
The World Development Movement, a UK-based lobby and campaign group, has “slammed” a UK government plan to put nearly £400 million into the World Bank’s Clean Technology Fund (CTF). And earlier this week, the US government revealed that none of its 2009 budget would go to the fund.
The CTF was created last year on the initiative of the Bush administration to help developing nations make the transition to renewable energies. However, on 30 January, the World Bank, which currently administers the fund, issued a memo describing conditions under which it would use the CTF to finance coal projects in developing nations.
The document states that coal power stations may receive CTF financing if they meet or surpass a certain level of efficiency – meaning they must emit less than 0.795 tonnes of carbon dioxide for every megawatt hour of power produced.
Tim Jones of the World Development Movement points out that the World Bank’s own data shows that standard coal power stations built in rich nations emit 0.8 tonnes of CO2 per MWh. The difference between 0.795 and 0.8 is within rounding errors, he says.
“Arguing over 0.005 in terms of efficiency makes a tiny difference to the actual emissions from a power station,” says Jones. “The key thing is that any money that is being spent on funding these power stations could have been spent on funding genuine green technologies which emit zero tonnes per megawatt hour.”
He says a company that builds power stations told him earlier this week the most efficient coal power stations that can currently be built emit between 0.7 and 0.74 t/MWh.
In the US, the Center for Global Development has been lobbying the federal government not to finance coal projects in developing countries through the CTF. On Wednesday, Congress passed a spending bill which, among other things, axed former president George W Bush’s request of $400 million for the CTF.
“We are not commenting on the internal budget processes,” says Morier. “But we think that US commitments to fund the CTF will be honoured, if not in this fiscal year, then in the next.” New Scientist