All records

Frequently Asked Questions


Q: How do I view a different country?
A: If the country is adjacent to your current location, you can move the cursor over the country and click (note, the country click feature is not currently available on mobile devices). Alternatively, select Main Menu (upper right).

Q: What do the colored dots mean?
A: The colors indicate the status category:

  • Announced: Proposed plants that have been described in corporate or government plans but have not yet taken concrete steps such as applying for permits or acquiring land.
  • Pre-permit development: Plants that are seeking environmental approvals and pursuing other developmental steps such as securing land and water rights. In India, this means that a "Terms of Reference" has been received from the Ministry of Environment and Forests.
  • Permitted: All necessary environmental approvals have been received but the project has not yet begun construction.
  • Construction: Site preparation and other activities are underway.
  • Shelved: Progress has been halted for at least two years.
  • Cancelled: A cancellation announcement has been made, or no progress has been observed for at least four years.
  • Operating: The plant has been formally commissioned.

Q: Can I change the status categories that the map is showing?
A: Yes, go to the legend (upper right corner of the map) and click in the box next to a color.

Q: What do the numbers in the circles mean?
A: The numbers tell the number of generating units at each location. To find information on each unit, click on the number, then select one of the colored dots.

Q: I've Zoomed In, but I don't see a power plant. Why?
A: If a coal plant is still in the pre-construction phases (Announced, Pre-permit development, or Permitted), there may be no sign of activity. In other cases, only approximate location information could be found by researchers. Finally, in some geographies satellite photos are only updated every few years, so recent activity is not shown.

Q: How do I find out if a location is exact or approximate?
A: Locations tend to be known with greater accuracy as plants move from early stages toward construction. To find out the coordinates of a location and whether a location is exact or approximate, click on the location dot, select the wiki page, and look under "Project Details."


Q: How can I filter a table so that only plants in a particular category, such as Construction, are listed?
A: Type Construction into the Search line. Note: On iPad, do not click "Go" after typing a search term. Instead, simply hide the keyboard.

Carbon Dioxide

Q: How were the carbon dioxide figures derived?
A: The tracker uses a calculation based on size of plant, type of combustion technology, and variety of coal. For details, see "Estimating carbon dioxide emissions from coal plants" (SourceWatch).


Q: Does the tracker show all the operating plants in each country?
A: The objective of the tracker is to provide information on coal-fired power plants in the developmental pipeline since 2010. Plants that entered operation or were cancelled before January 1, 2010, are not included.

Q: What about small plants?
A: The tracker covers units totaling 100 MW or more at a given location. So a single unit of 75 MW would not be included. But two 50 MW units would be included.

Q: How do you define capacity?
A: Capacity is measured in gross megawatts, prior to subtracting capacity used for plant operations.

Q: What about coal-to-liquids and other synfuels plants?
A: The tracker only includes coal-fired electrical generating plants.

Q: Can you explain the difference between "units" and "plants?"
A: The tracker provides separate data on each of the multiple facilities that typically exist at a particular location. Each of these facilities is referred to as a "unit." The entire collection of units at a given location is referred to as a "plant."

Improving the Tracker

Q: What if I find an error or a missing project?
A: Please send information on errors or omissions to Ted Nace (ted AT tednace.com).


Q: Who built this tool?
A: The tracker was designed and produced by Global Energy Monitor, a network of researchers seeking to develop collaborative informational resources on coal impacts and alternatives. To the extent possible, the information in the tracker has been verified by activists and researchers familiar with particular countries. The following people participated in plant-by-plant research: Elena Bixel (Klima Allianz), Bob Burton (Global Energy Monitor), Gregor Clark (Global Energy Monitor), Joshua Frank (Global Energy Monitor), Ted Nace (Global Energy Monitor), Christine Shearer (Global Energy Monitor), Adrian Wilson (Global Energy Monitor), and Aiqun Yu (Global Energy Monitor). Additional wiki editing and fact checking was provided by Christine Law, Iris Shearer, Austin Woerner, and Yvette Zhu. The tracker architect and project manager was Ted Nace (Global Energy Monitor). Web/GIS programming was done by Tom Allnutt and Gregor Allensworth (GreenInfo Network), with support from Tim Sinnott (GreenInfo Network).

Q: How do I cite this data?
A: Please cite as Global Energy Monitor, Global Coal Plant Tracker, with the date you accessed the data.