Coal-Fired Power in the New Industrial Development

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DOI: 10.20542/0131-2227-2016-60-6-42-51

N. Gorbacheva, Skolkovo Institute of Science and Technology, 3, Nobelya Str., Skolkovo village, Moscow Oblast’, 143026, Russian Federation; Institute of Economics and Industrial Engineering of Siberian Branch of RAS, 17, Lavrent’ev Prosp., Akademgorodok, Novosibirsk, 630090, Russian Federation (N.Gorbacheva@skoltech.ru

Abstract. The role of coal as the driver of innovative electricity generation for the new industrial development is complicated. On the world industrial agenda, coal continues to dominate global power generation due to its nature – significant reserves and well-distributed deposits, stability of production, flexibility of delivery, comparatively easily predicted prices and supply. A significant drawback of coal generation that is connected with the emission of toxic particulars (CO2, sulphur dioxide, nitrogen oxide, etc.) can be eliminated by new technologies, i.e. ultra-supercritical, integrated gasification combined cycle, carbon capture and sequestration. Technological inertia and capital-intensive innovation processes determine the power generation as industry with medium-low R&D expenditures, which are roughly 1–2% of the net sales of power companies. World strategic innovators in power industry build up the technological trends of coal generation, however, recent public and private spending on R&D represents only a small fraction of capital, needed for wide scaled deployment of new coal-fired power generation technologies. Plus to that, the significant cash flow from international commercial banks has been directed to finance new coal-fired plants based on traditional old-fashioned technologies with low efficiency and weak environmental standards. Most governments in the world support traditional fossil fuels suppliers by means of energy subsidies. Emerging financial initiatives – green bonds, new financial metric – are aimed at redirecting cash flow towards innovative technologies in power industry. But up to the moment, the amount of money reallocation is small and the pace of training high quality engineers and scientists is slack. Nevertheless, the intensified international cooperation between the largest coal users such as the USA and China makes quite possible the optimistic scenario for the future of a new coal generation. Education, finance and technology are the main factors of strengthening bilateral or multilateral cooperation. Russia has obtained up to the moment, by experts’ judgments, well-educated engineers, valuable traditions of scientific schools and research practice in the field of coal power. That bestows Russia good premises for making up international technological consortium with other, rich in coal countries, first of all, China and India. 

Keywords: coal-fired power, new industrial development, emerging technologies, R&D expenditures, financing, international cooperation, Russia, China, India 


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For citation:
Gorbacheva N. Coal-Fired Power in the New Industrial Development. World Eonomy and International Relations, 2016, vol. 60, No 6, pp. 42-51. https://doi.org/10.20542/0131-2227-2016-60-6-42-51



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