Global Coal Demand Bounced Back in 2017

By David Middleton – Re-Blogged From WUWT

It looks like my third-favorite fossil fuel continues to refuse to die…

Coal Demand Bounced Back in 2017 After Two Years of Decline: IEA

  • India and Southeast Asia are driving demand for fossil fuels
  • Investment in new coal power plants at lowest in a decade

Demand for coal rose for the first time in two years in 2017 with China and India burning more than anyone else, a blow for environmental groups hoping to limit use of the dirtiest fossil fuel.

The International Energy Agency’s annual World Energy Outlook published on Tuesday indicates coal will remain a key fuel to provide heat and light through 2040.

Key Takeaways

  • Global coal demand will begin to flatten by 2040, according to the IEA’s central scenario which tracks energy use on the assumption that governments will implement current and announced policies. In its most environmentally friendly outlook, the Paris-based institution says demand will ease to 2.28 billion tons in 2040 from 5.36 billion tons last year.

Source: International Energy Agency WEO 2018

  • Coal’s share of global energy demand would have to fall to 12 percent by 2040 to make a substantial dent in global warming, down from about 27 percent currently and the 22 percent under the IEA’s central forecast.
  • Asia is driving demand, especially India and the nations in the southeast of the continent. That’s helping make up for industrial nations such as Canada, Germany and the U.K. that are working to phase out the fuel.
  • Investment in new coal-fired power plants was at its lowest in a decade in 2017. Large investors and insurers are moving away from coal in growing numbers as public pressure to meet global climate targets gets ever stronger. Assicurazioni Generali SpAAllianz SE and AXA SA and Standard Chartered Plc are among those to have made public their ambitions to exit coal.



That’s funny!  Even with all of the climate-saving pledges from nations gullible enough to stay in the Paris deal, coal demand is projected to remain flat until 2040.  Can you say “feckless”?

IEA’s World Energy Outlook 2018 is available for purchase from the IEA.  The Executive Summary is available free-of-charge.  This is from the Executive Summary:

The increasing competitiveness of solar PV pushes its installed capacity beyond that of wind before 2025, past hydropower around 2030 and past coal before 2040. The majority of this is utility-scale, although investment in distributed solar PV by households and businesses plays a strong supporting role. The WEO-2018 introduces a new metric to estimate the competitiveness of different generation options, based on evolving technology costs as well as the value that this generation brings to the system at different times. This metric confirms the advantageous position of wind and solar PV in systems with relatively low-cost sources of flexibility. New solar PV is well placed to outcompete new coal almost everywhere, although it struggles in our projections to undercut existing thermal plants without a helping hand from policy. In the New Policies Scenario, renewables and coal switch places in the power mix: the share of generation from renewables rises from 25% today to around 40% in 2040; coal treads the opposite path.

If the installed capacity of solar PV passes coal before 2040… Coal will still be generating at least twice as much electricity as solar PV.  While coal-fired power plants are capable of delivering >85% capacity factors, they generally deliver at about 55% capacity factors.  Solar PV struggles to deliver 25% capacity factors.

What coal did today… Or at least did in a 24 hour period when this image was generated on a computer, likely to have been coal-powered.

As recently as 2016, coal generated almost as much electricity as natural gas, hydro-electric, soalr, wind, geothermal and other renewable schemes… Combined.

World gross electricity production, by source, 2016
Coal 38.3%
Natural Gas 23.1%
Hydro-electric 16.6%
Nuclear 10.4%
Solar/Wind/Geothermal/Tidal/Other 5.6%
Oil 3.7%
Biofuels and Waste 2.3%
Total 100.0%
Coal 38.3%
Gas+Hydro-electric+Solar/Wind/Geothermal/Tidal/Other 45.3%
Fossil Fuels+Nuclear 75.5%
Everything Else 24.5%



When you view fossil fuels from the perspective of primary energy consumption, which includes transportation and other energy use, not related to electricity generation, the insignificance of wind and solar become so obvious that Hans Blix could find it.

Have I posted this lately?

It’s a fossil fueled world. BP Statistical Review of World Energy 2018.

Thanks to the Climate Wrecking industry and all of our customers, the world is doomed to at least 22 more years of this…


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