Coal demand is increasing and due to keep on doing so

You perhaps think that with the rise of renewable energies and the new era of nuclear power, coal demand is decreasing and that this energy will soon be a relic of the past ?

Sorry to disappoint you, but according to Clean Technica, the reverse is occurring as to them : ” coal demand is climbing rapidly around the world.”

This might not be really hot news as I already wrote there about such a thing, but you will find below more data on this situation.

Here is the full article from Clean Technica :

Despite the myriad recent examples of positive news in the alternative energy world, it’s important to remember that harmful non-renewables aren’t losing any ground. According to the US Department of Energy, 258 gigawatts of new generating capacity are needed to meet an expected 40% increase in consumption by 2030, and coal companies are stepping up to meet this need.

In the US, 17.5 gigawatts of coal-fueled generating capacity are under construction, and 7.3 more gigawatts are on the way.

Coal companies are recording huge profits as a result of the growing desire for their services. Arch Coal, one of the largest coal producers in the United States, has recorded a net income of $194.1 million in the first half of 2008—triple their income from the first half of 2007.

Curbing this trend will be difficult, if not impossible, as emerging markets such as China show no signs of slowing down. Arch Coal suggests that 1.1 billion tons of coal will be needed by 2012, essentially replicating the US coal industry in 5 years.

So what can be done to stop coal’s harmful effects on the atmosphere? One possibility is carbon capture, but mandatory heat-trapping emission caps are not yet in place in the United States—not to mention other large coal-consuming countries. Unless major policy changes are made immediately, we’ll be dealing with massive coal emissions for a long time.

Of course, these are market predictions, so it may not be that bad as the market completely fails to understand concepts like climate change or even energy scarcity. Please don’t see that as some personal criticism of market economies, as I believe they just need improvements.

This phenomenon could reverse, energy efficiency could jump ( as a matter of fact it really should ), renewable energies and nuclear may face even stronger increase of demand, carbon capture and storage may become mainstream sooner that we expected… Time will tell us.

Be sure that I will keep you posted on the news of energy market and the large trends that I am reading about. So for this and for much more, stay tuned !

4 thoughts on “Coal demand is increasing and due to keep on doing so”

  1. It doesn’t surprise me, as the pattern around the world is that when renewables or nuclear are built, they don’t replace the old fossil fuel-fired stations, but are on top of them.

    So if you’re getting (say) 10,000kWh per person with coal and gas, then build 2,000kWh of renewables and 2,500kWh of nuclear, you don’t shut down 4,500kWh of coal – you just say, “wooo, now we have 14,500kWh of energy! Let’s use it up!”

    This is why we find that countries with quite similar standards of living have quite different electricity use – Germany and France with 8,000kWh per person, USA and Australia with 12,000kWh, Sweden and Iceland with 25,000kWh, etc.

    Sweden is a particularly interesting example since even with the second-highest per capita electricity use in the world, and even with a referendum in the 1980s to abolish nuclear power, they still have nuclear power plants. Once you have a certain amount of energy, you become very reluctant to reduce it – even if it’s far above what anyone could rationally require.

    People are very reluctant to shut power plants down, whatever their power source.

  2. Many thanks for sharing your it is VERY interesting !

    This explains many things going on in the world energy sector. I totally agree with you.

    However, knowing this how can we work on energy conservation and efficiency ? Do you have an idea ?

    Keep up the good work ! 😛

  3. We just have to decide to do it.

    Here Down Under in most of the country we have a drought, a water shortage. According to this, agriculture uses 70%, households 8%, sewage and leaks 8%, electricity generation 6%, manufacturing 3%, and mining 3%, and lots of other little things make up the other 2%. The figures are of treated mains supply water, not covering things like Olympic Dam’s use of 120Glt for in situ leaching mining of uranium, since they get it directly on-site from artesian supply.

    Anyway, to conserve water governments decided to focus on residential use. The different approaches tried were,
    – regulation – you can use water for this, but not that
    – progressive pricing – the second thousand litres cost more than the first thousand litres, etc
    – advertising campaign explaining the reasons we need to use less water.

    It’s been found that just one of those measures gives about a 10% reduction in per capita use, two give 25%, and three give 50%.

    If it’s worked for water, I see no reason it can’t work for electricity. There are some minor advertising campaigns going on, such as the black balloons series. I don’t know if they’ve been effective. That phantom energy use is much less obvious to us than a dripping tap or leaking pipe, so it’s easy to forget. I think we need the other two, advertising and pricing.

    Conventional electricity in Australia costs $0.16/kWh, and the average household uses 18kWh/day. These phantom loads are about 5% of that – call it 1kWh/day. So we’re talking about a dollar a week’s difference in price per household. Very few people would notice the difference, I think.

    There are some moves afoot to reduce phantom loads, the government passing regulations that machines which are “off” can’t draw more than 1W of power, and so on. But that’s different to the water regulations. For example, I’m not allowed to hose down my driveway – but I can have the light on the driveway all night and day if I want to…

    Regulation, pricing, and advertising. It works. Whether that’s enough to achieve our goals I don’t know, but it does work in reducing demand.

  4. I get your point : we need our leaders to make us save energy… It is true but the worrying thing is :

    Do our leaders want us to consume less energy ?

    If we consume less energy, we emit less CO2 and other GHG. and with less energy to produce, we can resort to lower carbon intensive solutions…

    I just watch the black balloon ads and I really like them. I may post on it as it is to me a great way to understand how our very daily action have an impact on energy consumption and climate change…

    Many many thanks Kiashu for your insight. Your blog is joining my favorites in the sidebar. Keep up the good work !

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