1,600 new coal plants are planned or under construction in 62 countries, 700 of these in China. These new plants would expand the world’s coal-fired power capacity by 43%. The New York Times commented: “The frenzied addition of coal plants underscores how the world is set to remain dependent on coal for decades,” Chinese companies are building coal plants in Egypt, Pakistan, Iran, Vietnam and Malawi. Over all, Chinese companies are behind 340 to 386 gigawatts of planned coal power expansion worldwide. The world’s single largest coal-plant developer is India’s National Thermal Power Corporation, which plans to build more than 38 gigawatts of new coal capacity in India and Bangladesh.

The Financial Review reports that residential customers in the Australian state of South Australia are paying the highest electricity prices in the world at 47.13¢ per kilowatt hour. South Australia has been in the headlines in the past year for its heavy reliance on wind energy and several blackouts that occurred across the state when the wind failed. In the late 1990s, Australia had the lowest retail prices in the world along with the United States and Canada. The following chart compares electricity prices in selected Australian states (in red) with other countries in the world. (Note: NEM is Australia’s National Electricity Market which comprises the eastern states of the country)

 

 

Last week two sedans – a Cadillac ATS and a Chrysler 300 – became the first self driving cars to cross an international border. The cars drove 350 miles from the US city of Detroit through part of the Canadian province of Ontario and back to Port Huron, Michigan. The trip involved driving through a tricky tunnel and across a long steel bridge. For more see Car and Driver, Self-Driving Cars Cross International Borders 

BizCommunity tells us autonomous vehicles are going to reshape the global economy.

Meanwhile, India says it will ban autonomous cars. At issue is the potential of autonomous vehicles to eliminate many jobs in the transport industry, including those of truck, bus, taxi and courier drivers. India’s India’s transport minister, Nitin Gadkari, stated: “We won’t allow any technology that takes away jobs. In a country where you have unemployment, you can’t have a technology that ends up taking people’s jobs.” Technology experts have already pointed to countries like India, with poorly maintained roads and chaotic conditions, requiring considerably more time to safely deploy autonomous vehicles. Significant infrastructure upgrades will be a prerequisite in India.

progrss has an infograph on The Future of Driving.

Consumer’s Reports says GM’s electric Chevrolet Bolt has reached 250 miles (402 kilometers) on a single charge, the most so far among the vehicles it has tested. Its electric-vehicle range test involves some mixed driving, but much of it is done by driving a constant 65 mph on a highway. Travelling on country roads at 45 mph, might get even more range. To ensure repeatability, the tests are done with the air conditioning and heater off. See Chevrolet Bolt Sets Consumer Reports’ Electric-Vehicle Range Record

The southeast Asian country of Indonesia says it will start mass production of electric vehicles in 2020. The government said its purpose is to reduce noxious emissions and the country’s reliance on fossil fuels for its transportation needs. Minister of Research, Technology and Higher Education, Mohamad Nasir, noted his ministry has invited four universities four universities to develop the electric car.

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