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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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Charles is a writer for Oilprice.com