Platts: Asia's Power Capacity Expansion Saw Upswing in Q1 2013

Platts Project Tracker Shows Early-Year Improvement After Marked Slowdown in 2012

May 08, 2013, 05:00 ET from Platts

LONDON, May 8, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Asian power generation development activity in the first three months of 2013 totaled 62.74 gigawatts (GW), according to the latest quarterly project tracking report by Platts, a leading global provider of energy, petrochemicals and metals information.

"This was 12% lower than in the same period of 2012, but was well up on the prior quarter – in fact, more than a fifth higher than in the last three months of 2012," said Martin Daniel, editor of Platts Power in Asia, the newsletter in which the quarterly data is published.

The earliest stage of the project development process is the announcement of planned new capacity. The amount of new capacity announced in the first quarter of 2013 was much the same as in the same period of 2012.

"But at more than 21 GW, the level of Q1 activity was almost double that of the fourth quarter of 2012, which appears to indicate an improvement in developer confidence," said Daniel.

First quarter project approvals were approximately 12.85 GW, which was down versus a year ago but up almost twofold compared to Q4.  But the amount of planned new power capacity actually signed to construction and equipment contracts was down 40% from both the prior quarter and Q1 of 2012.

"This seems to indicate that the revived confidence visible at the start of the project development pipeline has yet to turn into firm orders," Daniel said. "This is not surprising, given the long gestation period of most power generation projects."

The Platts power project tracker shows that the pattern of new capacity build in Asia was not uniform. In India, where new power development had been hindered for much of 2012 by fueling and financing issues, there was a significant revival in activity of approximately 8.1 GW during the first three months of this year.  New power development in China, of nearly 12.5 GW, also was up compared to a year ago and versus the last quarter of 2012. Southeast Asia and west Asia also saw continued buoyant new capacity activity at 19.1 GW and 12.5 GW, respectively.

In terms fuel and technology, a clear winner in the new power capacity build in Q1 was solar power. New programs in India, China and numerous other Asian countries caused Q1 solar sector development to treble versus Q4.

Capacity expansions for coal-fired plants accounted for 45% of total activity in the first quarter of 2013, little changed from the prior quarter and first quarter of 2012. Data showed a close split of about 13.8 GW of new plant capacity going to the use of local coal and approximately 14.3 GW dedicated to or potentially using imported coal. By contrast, most of the 15.1 GW of natural gas-fired plant capacity that changed status in Q1 will go to use of either imported or indigenous gas.

The Platts Power in Asia project tracker was developed by Platts in 2011 to identify trends in the Asian power generation market. It is a bottom-up aggregation of identified individual projects. Platts tracks these projects as they move through the development pipeline from announcement to completion. The Platts tracker only tracks projects registering a significant change in status during the quarter such moving from announcement to approval or to start of construction. It does not capture the much broader amount of capacity under development in Asia.

Asia: Power Generation Projects Changing Status by Quarter (megawatts)




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Source: Platts Power in Asia, compiled from company information

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