Last week the UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki Moon, announced the formation of a High Level Group on Sustainable Energy for All. The group is to be led by UNIDO Secretary-General Kandeh Yumkella and Bank of America Chairman Charles Holliday.
Access to energy is a key development challenge. According to the International Energy Agency (IEA) 1.4 billion people worldwide lack access to electricity, with another billion having to deal with unreliable electricity networks.
“Coal is a key fuel. And when we look at the last 10 years, the global energy mix, if it increased by 100 units – coal, oil, gas, everything put together – 50 units are coming from coal. A backbone of electricity generation of today, and according to the analysis will stay so with the current policies in place.”
Even more importantly coal is expected to play a significant role in providing the increased electricity required to meet the energy demands of those who currently lack access to electricity.
If the world is to meet global emissions reduction targets while meeting the ever-growing demand for energy, then advanced coal technologies – such as high efficiency low emissions power generation and carbon capture and storage – must be supported by governments and other international institutions.
It is therefore essential that the role of coal in meeting energy access objectives is given due consideration alongside other energy sources. The coal industry is committed to a sustainable energy future in which the world succeeds in addressing both its development and environmental objectives.
The High Level Group must recognise that coal will be part of securing a sustainable energy for all.