Saturday, April 16, 2016

Asia Won't Abandon Coal

Reports of coal’s death appear to have been greatly exaggerated, at least judging by major Asian importers’ continued commitment to the black gold. Despite reviving nuclear energy, Japan has given the green light to more coal-fired power plants, after importing a record amount of thermal coal in 2015. Meanwhile, coal demand is set to hit a new record high in neighbouring South Korea, while Taiwan’s new government could back increased coal imports to replace ageing nuclear reactors. 

Added to the emerging demand from ASEAN and India, and suddenly coal bulls have reason for optimism after a year to forget for the global industry, including a drop in demand by China. China accounted for 50% of global coal consumption in 2014, but now plans to cut around 500 million t of production over the next 3 – 5 yr. This would be achieved by closing more than 5000 coal mines, retraining and relocating workers and not approving any new mines for the next three years.

IEA said it expected worldwide coal consumption to continue growing at a rate of 0.8% a year through to 2020, with the strongest growth seen in ASEAN (up 7.8% a year) and India (up 4.1% per annum). India is seen as replacing China as the world’s largest coal importer, with Australia deposing Indonesia as the largest exporter.

With key Asian economies turning to coal for affordable and abundant energy, some 400 GW of power generation capacity – roughly equal to the combined installed capacity of Japan and South Korea – is expected to be added across the region through to 2040, of which 40% will be coal-fired, the World Coal Association noted. Japan could build as many as 41 new coal-fired power plants over the next decade, with some 23 GW of new coal capacity under development as of 2015 compared to total capacity of 41 GW in 2014. According to the Korea Energy Economics Institute (KEEI), South Korean coal demand will increase by over 6% to more than 140 million t in 2016, following the startup of nine new plants with a combined capacity of 7.7 GW.

Read more @ World Coal

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