PARIS – The global demand for coal will remain stable until 2023 due to strong growth in India and Southeast Asia despite its declining use in Europe and the United States, according to a report by the International Energy Agency (IEA) released on Tuesday.
The Paris-based agency predicts that the contribution of coal to the global energy mix will decrease slightly from 27 percent in 2017 to 25 percent in 2023, although global demand appears to increase in 2018 for the second year in a row.
Air quality and climate policies, coal divestment campaigns, phase-out announcements, declining costs of renewable energy and abundant supplies of natural gas are putting pressure on coal, the report adds.
India, according to the agency, has the largest increase in the use of coal, although the growth rate of 3.9 percent per year is slowing down, due to a large-scale expansion of renewable energies and the use of better technology in new coal power plants.
The IEA also expects a significant increase in the use of coal in Indonesia, Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia and Pakistan.
As for China, which accounts for almost half of the world’s coal consumption, the IEA expects the demand there to fall by almost 3 percent over the next five years.
Meanwhile, in a growing number of countries, the elimination of coal generation is a key policy objective; however, market trends have proven to be resistant to change, the IEA report explains.
“The story of coal is a tale of two worlds with climate action policies and economic forces leading to closing coal power plants in some countries, while coal continues to play a part in securing access to affordable energy in others,” explains Keisuke Sadamori, Director of the Energy and Security Markets at the IEA.
“For many countries, particularly in South and Southeast Asia, it is looked upon to provide energy security and underpin economic development,” he recalls.
For this reason, the IEA sees technologies such as carbon capture, utilization and storage (CCUS) as essential tools to meet current and future energy needs with global and national climate ambitions.
“Tackling our long-term climate goals, addressing the urgent health impacts of air pollution and ensuring that more people around the world have access to energy will require an approach that marries strong policies with innovative technologies,” adds Sadamori.
One must rely, he stresses, on all available energy options including more renewables, but also greater energy efficiency, nuclear, CCUS and hydrogen, among others.