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The World’s Coal-Fired Power Generation Hit a Record High in 2023

Global coal-fired power generation reached a record-high level in 2023, per data from environmental think tank Ember reported by Reuters columnist Gavin Maguire.

As countries, especially in Asia, looked to meet growing electricity demand and ensure their energy security, coal use in power generation hit record highs.

Per Ember data, global electricity generation from coal was 8,295 terawatt hours (TWh) between January and October, up by 1% compared to the same period in 2022.

Meanwhile, global coal exports also rose last year to more than 1 billion metric tons for the first time ever, per cargo tracking data by Kpler, cited by Reuters’s Maguire. In 2023, worldwide thermal coal exports hit 1.004 billion metric tons, rising by 6.6% from the prior year.

Global coal demand likely rose by 1.4% in 2023 and surpassed a record-high level of 8.5 billion tons for the first time, the International Energy Agency (IEA) said in a report in December.

Moreover, the three top coal producers in the world – China, India, and Indonesia – are boosting production, which is reaching new highs, the IEA said in its Coal 2023 annual report.

While coal demand in the United States and the EU was set for a 20% record decline in 2023, coal use in emerging economies “remains very strong, increasing by 8% in India and by 5% in China in 2023 due to rising demand for electricity and weak hydropower output,” the IEA said.

China’s coal demand is expected to drop in 2024 and plateau through 2026, and global demand is set to decline to 2026, “but China will have the last word,” the IEA noted.


The outlook for coal in China will be significantly affected in the coming years by the pace of its clean energy deployment, weather conditions, and structural shifts in the Chinese economy, according to the agency.

By Charles Kennedy for Oilprice.com

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  • George Doolittle on January 18 2024 said:
    Duke Energy looking to add to the nuclear fleet is the energy news (as in "actually new") going forward for the rest of the 2020's. Canada is planning to do the same apparently. Not sure how much longer Putin Russia can sustain their current massive War effort and so far this World War 3 and this is World War 3 make no mistake about that has not *quite* spread to Yemen. The crazy oil speculators should would love that to play out tho if that did happen..

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