The International Energy Agency (IEA) says the current high demand for coal could break the record, as it is used as a low-cost alternative because of high gas price increases generated by the current energy crisis.
“The rebound is being driven by this year’s rapid economic recovery, which has pushed up electricity demand much faster than low-carbon supplies can keep up,” the IEA reported on Dec. 17.
Against this backdrop, global coal demand could rise 6% this year, and further increases in 2022 would break the record of 2013 and 2014 set at the all-time high of 10,350 terawatt-hours.
This trend could continue for the next two years, if alternative energy projects achieve the targets proposed so far.
China, which generates half of the world’s energy from coal, and India, stand out as the largest consumers, countries where the increase in demand for this fuel could be between 9% and 12%.
For his part, the IEA’s Director of Energy Markets and Security, Keisuke Sadamori, described the influence that these two countries could have on coal consumption.
“The pledges to reach net zero emissions made by many countries, including China and India, should have very strong implications for coal – but these are not yet visible in our near-term forecast, reflecting the major gap between ambitions and action,” he predicted.
He explained: “Asia dominates the global coal market, with China and India accounting for two-thirds of overall demand.”
He added: “These two economies—dependent on coal and with a combined population of almost 3 billion people—hold the key to future coal demand.”
As for the increase in demand in the United States and the European Union, coal-fired electricity generation is expected to be almost 20% this year.
In the United Kingdom, the last coal-fired power plants received record sums to help keep the lights on this year. Electricity prices hit new highs in the face of record gas prices and one of the least windy summers in the last 60 years.
The price of coal has also increased significantly, after being at $50 per ton at the end of last year, it peaked at $298 to stabilize at $150 per ton.
On the other hand, it should be noted that this high coal consumption is occurring in the midst of a spate of environmentally friendly policies and controversial political decisions, such as the decommissioning of oil and gas-fired power plants.
Investments in fossil fuel exploitation projects have also been discouraged, all of which has led to an energy crisis around the world, contrary to the projections of environmentalists.