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Almost 1,200 coal plants proposed globally

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Amid talk of a decline of coal in the United States, particularly in West Virginia, globally, just short of 1,200 coal-fired power plants are proposed for construction worldwide.

According to a new report from World Resources Institute, there 1,199 coal plants proposed worldwide. That represents a total electric capacity of 1,401,268 megawatts. How much is that?

"If all of these projects are built, it would add new coal power capacity that is almost four times the current capacity of all coal-fired plants in the United States." the World Resource Institute states.

All of those plants have been proposed by about 483 power companies.

Just 36 of the proposed plants documented by WRI are in the United States, ranking it seventh in the world for proposed coal plants. China, meanwhile currently has 336 proposed coal plants while India is proposing 455 coal-fired power plants.

Together, China and India account for more than three quarters of worldwide proposed coal plants.

The Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Laos, Morocco, Namibia, Oman, Senegal, Sri Lanka, and Uzbekistan have proposed coal plants despite limited or no coal production within their borders.

The WRI is concerned about the potential environmental impact of the proposed coal-fired power plants.

"Not all of these projects will necessarily be approved and developed — the report only looks at proposed new plants," the WRI stated. "However, this research shows a significant — and troubling — interest in coal development globally."

The WRI calls Chinese development on the back of coal-fired electricity an "economic miracle" and emphasized the need for cheap, available electricity.

"Energy is a universal need, and new energy development is critical in the developing world in order to lift people out of poverty and empower them to enjoy a higher quality of life," the WRI states. "However, the choice of energy sources is a tough one, as developing countries must seek low-cost options. Coal-fired plants are often considered such an option, even though strong evidence of coal's toll on the climate, environment, and human health suggests otherwise."

Coal from West Virginia and Central Appalachia have faced decreasing domestic demand but also increases in coal exports to places such as China.

The full report is available on the WRI website.