Power station coal use: prospects to 2000, IEACR/41

Author(s): Martin Daniel

Ref: IEACR/41
ISBN: 92-9029-194-X
Published Date: 01/01/1991
No. of Tables: 50
No. of Figures: 8
No. of Pages: 61


Coal-fired power stations at present account for almost 40% of global electricity supply and consume over half of world coal output. The report assesses future prospects for power station coal use in the context of regional and global electricity supply trends, with special reference to developments in steam coal importing regions. The report takes as its starting point the latest available government and utility plans for the construction and utilisation of coal-fired capacity. These plans in aggregate suggest very considerable growth in power station coal demand to the year 2000. Net capacity is projected to increase by 25 GWE a year, with overall coal consumption growing by 3%/y, and seaborne traded coal demand more than tripling. However, it is now increasingly accepted that these projections are over-optimistic. Most of the plans were formulated in the mid to late 1980s and are being revised downwards by governments and utilities in the light of concerns over the environmental impact of coal use, competition from other fuels (especially gas), and in some cases, difficulties in financing new capacity. The report analyses the likely impact of these and other factors on future power station coal use. It is concluded that overall coal use will grow by only 1.5%/y to 2000, with demand for seaborne traded coal being particularly affected. Nevertheless, power station coal use will reach almost 3 billion tonnes in 2000 - growing at a rate of over 100,000 tonnes every day - with much of the growth in developing countries such as China and India. Seaborne steam coal trade will more than double to 248 million tonnes.

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