Coal demand growth to stall, says IEA

Global growth of coal is set to stall in the next five years as appetite for fossil fuels falls and other energy sources gain ground. That’s according to a report […]

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By Jacqueline Echevarria

Global growth of coal is set to stall in the next five years as appetite for fossil fuels falls and other energy sources gain ground.

That’s according to a report by the International Energy Agency (IEA) which forecasts coal in the power generation mix to drop from 41% in 2014 to 36% by 2021.

Lower demand from China and US along with fast growth of renewables and strong focus on energy efficiency are among the reasons.

However, the agency warns the world is still highly dependent on coal. Despite demand dropping in 2015 for the first time this century, the IEA believes it will not reach 2014 levels again until 2021.

Coal remains the world’s number one fuel for generating electricity, producing steel and making cement as it is affordable and widely available, the report states. It provides almost 30% of the world’s primary energy, which is expected to decline to 27% by 2021.

It is also said to be responsible for 45% of all energy-related carbon emissions and is a significant contributor to other types of pollution.

Keisuke Sadamori, Director of the IEA’s Energy Markets and Security Directorate said: “Because of the implications for air quality and carbon emissions, coal has come under fire in recent years but it is too early to say that this is the end for coal.”

“Coal demand is moving to Asia, where emerging economies with growing populations are seeking affordable and secure energy sources to power their economies. This is the contradiction of coal – while it can provide essential new power generation, it can also lock-in large amounts of carbon emissions for decades to come.”