On Monday, the International Energy Agency (IEA) released their annual report following climate talks held in Peru suggesting that ‘global coal prices are falling and coal demand is rising’, EIN News reported.

Maria van der Hoeven , Head of the IEA, said that ‘coal is here to stay for decades to come. Some people don’t like this. But it’s the truth’.

China accounts for more than half of the global coal consumption making it the world’s largest coal consumer and the IEA predicts that India will become the second largest with demand growing at 5% annually.

Despite environmental impacts and plummeting oil prices, which have dropped from around US$110 a barrel to below US$60 a barrel since mid-year, the IEA identified a new coal trend in developed countries such as Korea, Japan and Germany.

Renewable energy has emerged as a clean and sustainable energy alternative, with solar technology being one of the highest installed in the world. The US solar generation capacity is estimated at 12GW, however coal-fired power still remains the most efficient and cost-effective.

Coal vs. Solar

These figures can are put in perspective in the BP Statistical Review of World Energy. To compare the US growth of solar to coal, solar equalled to 42 000 barrels of oil per day in 2013 and coal increased to 380 000 barrels of oil per day.

These numbers show that coal remains the most favourable base-load present in the energy mix due to its low price and abundant resources, and should prices continue to prove favourable, businesses will include coal in its future energy strategy for years to come.


(Pic Credits: commodity online)

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Nicolette Pombo-van Zyl has been working in the African power, energy and water sectors since 2011, first with African Utility Week and now as the Editor of ESI Africa. She is also an Advisory Board member of the Global and African Power & Energy Elites publications. With her passion for sustainable business and placing African countries on the international stage, Nicolette takes a keen interest in current affairs and technology trends.