IEA Predicts Flat Coal Demand Until 2022 as UK Heads Towards 2025 Coal Shutdown
UN Photo/Kibae Park/Sipa Press
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The IEA's annual coal report predicts flat global coal demand from 2017-2022, resulting in a decade-long period of stagnation for the industry.

The Agency's publication cites natural gas price reductions, increased demand for renewable energy, and energy efficiency improvements as the drivers of reduced coal demand.

The UK Government announced plans to impose new pollution standards as aprt of its plan to phase out unabated coal power by 2025 that are considered to render coal fired electricity generation uneconomical.

5 January 2018: The International Energy Agency’s (IEA) annual coal report predicts flat global coal demand from 2017-2022, as the government of the UK announced its plan to phase-out emissions from coal-fired power plants by 2025.

The IEA report indicates that in 2016 global consumption experienced its second year of decline, equal to a decline in the early 1990’s that was the largest drop on record. By 2022, the IEA expects the five-year average global coal demand to equal that of the last five-year period, resulting in a decade-long period of stagnation, and coal’s lowest share of the global power mix ever recorded by the IEA. The publication cites natural gas price reductions, increased demand for renewable energy, and energy efficiency improvements as cause for reduced coal demand.

The IEA further reports that coal demand dropped in China, the US, and the EU in 2016, while Indian and Southeast Asian demand increased, and is projected to continue doing so. It further emphasizes the need for support for Carbon Capture, Utilization, and Storage (CCUS) technologies, highlighting its 2017 Global CCUS Summit, during which participants stressed the societal value of CCUS and the need for continued investment in the development of CCUS technologies.

The release of the IEA report coincided with an announcement by the UK Government to impose stricter emissions intensity limits as part of its plan to phase out emissions from coal-fired electricity generation by 2025. In a report titled, ‘Implementing the End of Unabated Coal by 2025,’ published by the UK Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy, the Government proposes regulation that offers flexibility to coal operators interested in investing in CCUS. Given that such an investment is currently considered uneconomical and that coal generation in the UK has already fallen by 80% since 2012, these standards are expected to result in the elimination of British coal power by 2025. [IEA Press Release] [IEA Coal 2017 Report Findings] [ClimateAction Report on UK Coal Phase-Out]

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