Association Webinars: Will China's new coal plants become stranded economic assets?



Despite its carbon neutrality commitments, China is continuing to build new coal-fired plants. Several analyses of Chinese coal plants’ financial prospects suggest that such investments by China’s power companies will become stranded assets from the perspective of their investors. These assessments are grounded in financial analyses of the power plant from this investor perspective, rather than explicitly considering the economic returns that in principle motivate China’s government, particularly in its role as shareholder of the state-owned power companies that dominate coal-fired generation in China. We revisit the prospect of these plants becoming stranded assets through this “economic” prism, taking into account China’s rising climate ambition.


Philippe Benoit, Adjunct Senior Research Scholar, Columbia University’s Center on Global Energy Policy; Managing Director, Energy and Sustainability, Global Infrastructure Advisory Services 2050.
Philippe Benoit has over twenty five years of experience working on energy, development and sustainability issues. Before joining Columbia University, he previously worked in various managerial positions at the World Bank and the International Energy Agency. He also worked in the private sector as Director in SG Investment Bank’s energy project finance group and as a corporate lawyer at Debevoise and Plimpton. He has a BA from Yale University and a JD from Harvard Law School

Alex Clark, PhD researcher at the Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment, focuses on the fossil-fuel related economic risks in the public sector, and how governments and their agents should respond to these risks, with a focus on China. Alex supports Oxford's engagement with China through the Economics of Energy Innovation and Systems Transition (EEIST) project. Alex is a Global China Initiative Fellow at Boston University, a Visiting Fellow at the European Council on Foreign Relations, a European Scholar, and a 2021 Summer Programme fellow at the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA). Alex also works as a consultant to the Center on Global Energy Policy at Columbia University, and Climate Policy Initiative (CPI). He holds an MSc in Global Governance and Diplomacy from Oxford, and is a former holder of the Henry Fellowship at the Harvard Graduate School of Arts and Sciences.

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Event Date: December 10, 2021

Event Time: 10:00 - 11:00 AM Eastern Time

Topic: Will China's new coal plants become stranded economic assets?

Speakers: Philippe Benoit and Alex Clark

Price: FREE

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