World coal capacity is expected to reach approximately 2,500 GW by the end of 2020, an increase of nearly 60 percent from 2008, according to a study by McIlvaine Company (

The study, titled Coal-Fired Boilers: World Analysis and Forecast, predicts East Asia will lead the way with the biggest total gain in capacity, while West Asia will enjoy the largest percentage growth, approximately 300 percent.

Coal capacity in Western Europe is presently more than double compared to West Asia, but by 2020 the capacities are projected to be nearly equal. East Asia will operate nearly half (49%) of the world’s coal-fired power plant capacity by 2020, according to McIlvaine. China is already the world’s largest operator of coal-fired plants, passing the United States in total capacity two years ago. In 2007, McIlvaine says China started construction of new coal-fired power plants with a net capacity of 93,000 MW.

The projected capacity through 2012 is based on the specific plant plans, which are tracked by McIlvaine in its World Power Generation Projects.