In 2020, coal will account for 50% more installed capacity than nuclear and gas. In terms of the share of electricity generation as opposed to capacity, the nuclear share will be somewhat higher and the gas share somewhat lower with coal accounting for 65% of the total. China has been the biggest factor in the growth of coal. In the last 10 years it has built more coal-fired power plants than exist in the U.S. and Western Europe.

India will enjoy the largest percentage growth in coal-fired power plants. Its coal-fired capacity will nearly double to 300,000 mw by 2020. Upgrades of existing nuclear power plants will require an investment of $110 billion over the next five years, but even when this is included, the expenditures for new coal-fired power plants will far exceed the expenditures for gas turbine and nuclear combined.

All of the larger coal-fired power plants to be built in the next decade will be high efficiency. For example, the new Chinese ultra-supercritical plants emit 30% less CO2 than the average coal-fired power plant in the U.S. China has invested more for pollution control than any other country, however, it is still the largest polluter because of the emissions from some of the older plants.