Growth in the coal-fired power sector is declining in Europe and North America but pressing ahead in Asia, new research has found.

A survey undertaken by CoalSwarm, an environmental group, polled 1675 companies worldwide on their current coal power installations and future plans. The survey found that 994 companies, or 59 per cent, have operated coal-fired power plants since 2010, while 681 companies, or 41 per cent, have planned further coal plant development.

Of the firms that operated coal power plants between 2010 and 2017, 71 (7 per cent) have now retired their entire fleet, 112 (11 per cent) have retired at least one-third, and 139 (14 per cent) have retired at least one-fifth. Of these closures, the majority were in Europe and North America.

However, the survey also noted that 303 coal power plant developers are undertaking new projects for the first time.

CoalSwarm’s list of the 20 companies with the largest number of proposed coal plants (announced, pre-permit or permitted) includes only Asian firms. The ten largest global coal plant developers, as represented by the data, include six Chinese firms, two Indian firms, an Indonesian company and a Thai company.

The top 20 firms are developing 34 per cent of proposed coal power plants, or 189 GW. (The list does not specify whether the proposed plants will be built in Asia.)

Overall, as of July, CoalSwarm’s Global Coal Plant Tracker showed 548 GW of coal power capacity in pre-construction planning – a decline of 41 per cent on 2016’s numbers – and 264 GW under construction, down 25 per cent on 2016.