This article examines the political economy of Chinese overseas development finance for coal fired power plants. In just over a decade China's two major policy banks provide more financing for overseas coal-fired power plant expansion than any other public financier in the world economy. We show how China's overseas surge in public financing for coal fired power plants is a function of a number of domestic push and foreign pull factors. Excess capacity, environmental regulation, and structural change are push factors that converge with rising demand for energy, pockets of coal abundance, and the lack of financing in Western capital markets for coal fired power plants. Fragmentation across the Chinese system and the demand for coal outside China's borders allow for a decline sector on the mainland to become a global Chinese powerhouse.