Fossil and nuclear power plants will invest $790 billion on new equipment and repair parts in 2013, with 56 percent of the investment expected to be in coal-fired power plants, according to the report Fossil & Nuclear Power Generation: World Analysis & Forecast by McIlvaine Company.

2014 Fossil-Fired and Nuclear Power Generation Market

Technology

Units

Coal-fired

Nuclear

Gas Turbine

 

 

Existing

New

Existing

New

Existing*

New*

Capacity

GW

2,300

100

474

20

1,300

100

Total Investment

$ Billions

240

200

100

80

   70

100

Combined New and Existing

 

$ Billions

 

440

 

180

 

170

 

Despite the virtual moratorium on new coal-fired power plants in the United States., the rest of the world will spend $200 billion on new coal-fired power plants in 2014. This contrasts with only $100 billion for gas turbine systems.

The report says that repair parts and upgrades of existing coal-fired power plants will generate revenues of $240 billion. Chinese and U.S. power plants have major pollution control programs.

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The future competition among these three major fuels is expected to be shaped by a number of factors. The report says that the greatest variable is the quantity of shale gas which can be economically produced. The United States has potentially enough shale gas to meet present requirements for 30 years. China has even greater reserves, but they are located deeper and will be more expensive to extract.

The efforts to reduce greenhouse gases will virtually eliminate new coal-fired power plants as an option in certain countries, the report says. This sets up a chain of events whereby production of products requiring lots of energy input will be increased in countries which burn the cheaper coal. As a result, the fleet of world coal-fired power plants will keep growing. 

Nuclear generation growth will also be highly regionalized, while some countries will not only avoid building new nuclear power plants, but will phase out existing ones.