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Coal’s Share Of Global Energy Supply Has Increased Since 1973

The share of coal of total energy supply increased between 1973 and 2018, while the share of oil shrunk by nearly 15 percentage points, as the share of energy supply from China surged at the expense of supply in developed economies, the International Energy Agency (IEA) said in its new report Key World Energy Statistics 2020 on Thursday.

Back in 1973, when total global energy supply was more than half the current supply, coal held a share of 24.5 percent of global energy supply, while oil accounted for the largest share at 46.2 percent, according to IEA’s estimates.

In 2018, the share of coal increased to 26.9 percent, while oil’s share of global energy supply dropped to 31.6 percent. The share of natural gas rose from 16 percent in 1973 to 22.8 percent in 2018, IEA’s statistics show.

In the OECD region, the share of coal and oil in supply significantly dropped between 1973 and 2018, while natural gas and nuclear increased their shares.

China’s share of total global energy supply jumped from 7 percent back in 1973 to 22.5 percent in 2018, and the Middle East also expanded its share from 0.8 percent to 5.3 percent. At the same time, the OECD share of global energy supply declined from 61.3 percent to 37.5 percent.

In recent years, China has been the driver of global coal-fired capacity, while many developed countries – including the United States and in Europe – are phasing out coal-fired plants either because of clean energy commitments or because of cheaper natural gas.

The world’s net capacity additions of coal-fired power generation rose in 2019 for the first time since 2015, due to a surge in the Chinese coal fleet, a report from environmental organizations showed earlier this year. As much as 64 percent of the newly commissioned coal capacity was in China, another 12 percent came from India, and the remaining 24 percent was mainly in Asian countries, including Malaysia, Indonesia, and Pakistan, according to findings from Global Energy Monitor (GEM), Sierra Club, Greenpeace International, and the Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air (CREA).  

In the United States, a total of 103 coal-fired power plants have been converted to natural gas or replaced by natural gas-fired plants since 2011, according to EIA estimates.

By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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