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Repurposing for Advancing Coal Transition (ReACT) Tool: Exploring coal transition strategies


Climate Investment Funds,

Many of the world’s low- and middle-income countries are most prone to, yet least prepared for, the challenges of the climate crisis. In response to this, Climate Investment Funds (CIF) develops large-scale, low-cost, and long-term financial solutions to support countries in achieving their climate objectives.  

The CIF’s USD 2 billion Accelerating Coal Transition (ACT) investment program is a multilateral effort to advance an equitable, inclusive shift away from coal power in developing countries. To help policymakers prepare and implement their investment plans to transition away from coal, CIF recently published the Repurposing for Accelerating Coal Transition (ReACT) report outlining technical and financial approaches to coal transition. This study was conducted through extensive consultative processes involving sectoral experts and practitioners, in addition to detailed research and analyses.  

Using the synthesised lessons from the ReACT report, CIF developed the ReACT Tool—a free public-access platform to tackle the complex planning process of retiring and repurposing coal infrastructure. The tool supports coal transition planning across two important phases: 

  • Retirement: Helping to identify and prioritise suitable coal plants for early retirement. 
  • Repurposing: Identifying potential climate-smart repurposing solutions for coal plants that have been identified for retirement. 

The tool aims to transform the way key decision-makers approach coal transition planning. Policy
makers can rapidly evaluate the potential benefits of transitioning from coal to multiple climate-smart solutions, including solar plants, wind farms, molten salt thermal storage, etc. A unique feature of the ReACT Tool is its ability to synthesise vast amounts of data across technical, commercial, and socio-environmental indicators. Advanced algorithms and modelling techniques simplify the evaluation process and help simulate different scenarios, considering factors such as the plant’s age, cost-effectiveness, and environmental impact.

The tool factors in local priorities and regulations while providing data and assigning weightages, which can create customised retirement and repurposing recommendations. The ReACT Tool’s inbuilt flexibility allows users to model a broad range of scenarios for up to 200 coal plants at a time, allowing coal asset owners to project multiple intervention levels according to local priorities, regulations, and available resources, among other variables. This approach aims to equip policymakers and energy developers with strategies based on accurate projections, optimising the allocation of resources, and assuring buy-in from all relevant stakeholders early in the planning process. 

Currently, limited standard frameworks can be utilised across regions, and the general process is based on lengthy and expensive prefeasibility assessments and pilots. With the ReACT Tool, CIF hopes that relevant stakeholders will benefit from a free and customisable bird’s-eye view of the approaches that could be the most efficient and effective for planning early coal retirement strategies. 

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