IEA recognises coal’s continuous importance to global energy needs

14th Nov 2017

The World Coal Association (WCA) has welcomed the International Energy Agency’s (IEA) recognition that coal will continue to play a vital role in the global energy mix. In its latest World Energy Outlook (WEO) 2017 report, coal remains the single largest source of electricity generation through to 2040 at 26%. India and Southeast Asia will be the driving force of demand for coal in the decades to come.

Commenting on the report, Benjamin Sporton, Chief Executive of the World Coal Association says:

  • It is clear that coal will continue to play a crucial role in global energy supply. In all its scenarios, the IEA notes coal’s continuous importance, that’s why the WCA is urging countries using coal to do so with the cleanest and most efficient low emission coal technologies available.
  • In line with emissions reduction, the report notes increased efficiencies of coal-fired power plants around the world which have resulted in significant reductions in CO2 emissions.
  • It is not surprising that the IEA projects that three-quarters of all new coal plants entering into operation over the next 25 years will use either supercritical or ultra-supercritical technology. We at the WCA have been advocating for this and it’s why we set up the global Platform for Accelerating Coal Efficiency (PACE) to help raise the global average efficiency of coal-fuelled power plants and, in effect, to minimise CO2 emissions. Increased levels of financing could lead to even greater levels of coal efficiency and therefore further reductions in emissions. 
  •  Ultimately though, as the report points out, CCS will be critical to global climate objectives and will play an important role in ensuring a sustainable future for coal.
  • The report points out the need to accelerate the deployment of CCS to ensure it becomes commercially viable.
  • Coal producers are important stakeholders in driving CCS deployment and have worked to enhance the deployment and commercialisation of CCS through initiatives such as Australia’s COAL21 Fund. We alone cannot drive commercialisation, we need enhanced partnerships - that’s why I have been calling for greater CCS ambition at COP23 in Bonn.