Coal emerges as global player
Coal is poised to become the most-used fuel for power generators through the rest of this decade, undermining targets for cutting greenhouse gases even as prices rebound from a four-year low.
About 434 gigawatts of coal-power capacity will be added globally by 2020, compared with 241 gigawatts for gas and 92 gigawatts of nuclear generation, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance.
As more than 200 ministers and executives gather in South Korea for the World Energy Congress this week, the biggest economies are finding a resurgence in demand for coal.
“Many people forgot about coal,” Maria Van der Hoeven, executive director of the International Energy Agency, said in Bangkok. “Coal is really emerging as a fuel of choice because of its abundance and affordability.”
Utilities including Huaneng Power International Inc. in Beijing and NTPC Ltd. in New Delhi are among companies in 59 nations planning to build 1,401 gigawatts of coal-fired stations, according to the World Resources Institute. China and India account for 76 percent of planned new generation, equal to the entire current capacity of the United States, according to the institute.
Indonesia is the largest coal exporter.
Newcastle coal prices will rise to $91 a ton in 2015 and $95 in 2016, according to the median of analyst forecasts compiled by Bloomberg.
“Coal prices will be in an upward trend in the long term, supported by rising demand globally,” said Helen Lau, an analyst with UOB Kay Hian. “Coal will remain economically competitive as a stable source of power.”
Coal is the source for about three-quarters of capacity being built in Southeast Asia, where energy demand is forecast to almost double in the next two decades as coal consumption triples, the IEA said in an Oct. 2 report.
New technology that cracks open shale rock has unleashed record amounts of natural gas in the United States, freeing up coal for export to Europe. Columbus, Ohio-based American Electric Power Co., the largest coal consumer in the country, predicts the fuel will account for less than half its generation capacity in 2016, down from 60 percent this year.
The shale gas revolution can't be replicated elsewhere, according to Van der Hoeven. Geological and logistical constraints mean China's output won't be significant before 2020, she said.
Coal will be at least 30 percent cheaper than natural gas for electricity generators in Southeast Asia, according to the IEA.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Foreign policy expert: Obama administration should create Syria safe areas
- Video of white Chicago patrolman fatally firing on fleeing black youth sparks demonstrations
- Self-driving vehicles closer to getting green light as feds ease stance
- Email address gives FBI lead on record theft of user IDs, passwords
- Poll: 4 in 10 know someone who has been addicted to prescription painkillers
- In a first, private company’s rocket returns safely to Earth
- Traffic deaths rise sharply in United States
- GOP readies next assault on health care law
- Newborn left in manger in N.Y. church, police say
- 3 arrested in shooting of Minneapolis protesters
- House Republicans call for refugee limits in spending bill