Driven by Asia, demand for coal still strong in the near future

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Global demand for coal undoubtedly peaked in 2013, but it remains significant and after a historic decline in 2020, it is unlikely to decline in the following years, driven by Asia, said the International Agency on Friday. energy (AIE).

The second primary source of energy in the world, coal, used in particular to produce electricity, has been on a downward slope for several years. And in 2020, it saw its consumption fall by 5% under the effect of the health crisis, the largest drop recorded since World War II, according to the Coal 2020 report.

Subject to an economic recovery, a 2.6% rebound is expected in 2021, fueled by increased demand from industrial production and electricity, but also by rising gas prices. However, this will not allow it to regain its 2019 consumption level.

But then, “few signs indicate that the world coal consumption could decline substantially in the years to come, the increasing demand of certain Asian economies compensating the decline elsewhere”, underlines the IEA, taking up there “a major challenge” in the fight against climate change.

This should be the case until 2025, with a demand then expected at 7.4 billion tonnes, it is estimated. That would make 2013, with its 8 billion tonnes, the peak year for coal.

The years 2018 and 2019 in particular saw global demand decline sharply, particularly in the United States and Europe, due to lower electricity consumption and competition from cheap gas.

But if the share of coal is decreasing in the electricity and energy mix, its use in absolute quantity “is not about to decline rapidly in the immediate future”, notes the IEA.

“Renewables are on the right track to become the first source of electricity, ahead of coal, by 2025. And by then gas will surely have taken second place.e place coal as primary energy, after oil, ”notes Keisuke Sadamori, director of energy markets at the IEA.

“But with the stagnation or increase in demand for coal expected in major Asian economies, there is no evidence today that it will disappear quickly,” he adds. “Even if the world works for a transition to clean energy, it will take time to get out of this dependence on coal.”

China and India represent 65% of the demand. With Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and Southeast Asia, it is 75%.

Experts will observe in particular China, which consumes half of the world’s coal, and which, already in full economic recovery, will present its new five-year plan in early 2021.

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