The Coal Power Plant is an advanced production building of the Industrial Era in Civilization VI: Gathering Storm. It is the first power-producing building in the game; it is built in the Industrial Zone district and requires a Factory (or one of its replacements).
- Production equal to the district's current adjacency bonus. (Can be modified by Policy Cards and Nikola Tesla's ability, despite its base Production bonus not being regional.)
- Converts Coal into Power for this city and other cities whose City Centers are within 6 tiles. (Conversion rate: 1 Coal → 4 Power)
- +1 Citizen slot.
- +1 Production additionally per Specialist in this district
- +1 Great Engineer point per turn.
- Heavy CO2 emissions into the atmosphere.
The Coal Power Plant is the earliest available Power Plant type. On top of serving as an early source of Power, it provides a large Production bonus in well-planned Industrial Zones with high adjacency bonuses, especially when Craftsmen or Five-Year Plan is active.
However, the Coal Power Plant is inefficient in its resource consumption and emits the largest amount of CO2. This will likely have the following implications:
- Widespread construction of Coal Power Plants for their Production bonus is probably unaffordable until military units mostly consume Oil.
- To slow down Global Warming, converting to a more advanced Power Plant at the first available opportunity is likely advantageous, especially in districts without high adjacency bonuses.
- Due to the precedence of energy sources, Coal Power Plants can be used late in the game to boost local Production when other sources of Power provide for the Power needs.
- However, the moment a more advanced source of energy is available, that source will be drawn instead of Coal. This needs to be balanced against the fact that Coal has no late-game use other than Power, whereas Oil and Uranium will be required for units until the end.
Coal has been used as fuel for fire as far back as prehistory. The rise of steam engines during the industrial revolution created an immense demand for the fuel. Coal burns hotter than wood and was, at the time, relatively easy to extract from various places around the world. The first coal-fired electrical power plant was built in 1884. In a coal-fired power plant, coal burns to heat water, which creates steam, which drives a dynamo, which generates electricity. This is an inefficient conversion of the potential energy in each lump of coal into electrical power even with modern improvements on the process, and as a side effect it creates a tremendous quantity of harmful particulates in smoke and ash, and releases CO2 into the atmosphere.
In the early twenty-first century, coal still provides a significant percentage of the total power generation in the world, particularly in industrial economies and in nations with large natural coal reserves. Pollution from both mining and power generation continue to plague humanity, but the reliability of on-demand coal-generated electrical power means it will continue to be used as long as the world continues to run on electricity.