Now Toshiba is getting out of the coal business

Three months after it began work on the $2.7bn Van Phong 1 thermal power plant in Vietnam, Toshiba has decided to end its involvement in coal power.

The company will take no further orders, despite the fact that it holds around 11% of the global market outside China, reports Nikkei Asia. 

For the 1.3GW Van Phong plant, Toshiba was in charge of the design, manufacturing, installation and test operation of the stream turbines and generators.

The company will replace the revenue from coal with renewable products. It plans to invest $1.5bn in this sector by 2022, a fivefold increase.

Nikkei Asia reports that it will develop improved offshore wind power and next-generation photovoltaic cells. It hopes to expand revenue from renewables to more than $6.1bn by 2030, compared with $1.8bn in 2019.

Toshiba will, however, continue to produce replacement turbines for existing plants and fulfil the 10 orders for new coal-fired stations that it has on its books.

Once viewed by industrialising countries as a convenient way to electrify, polluting coal power is falling out of favour amid the climate emergency.

It clashes with governments’ greenhouse gas reduction targets, sparks protests, and is viewed with increasing hostility by investors and insurers.

The change in public opinion was illustrated last month by the anger that greeted Korea’s involvement in another Vietnamese coal plant, the 1.2GW Vung Ang 2 (see further reading). This prompted Samsung to announce that its engineering arm would also quit the coal business.

Image: The Long Tau coal port near Ho Chi Minh City. Vietnam has been backing coal as an affordable solution to its energy gap (Dreamstime)

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