Coal said to fuel most of world by ’20Coal, propelled by rising use in China and India, will surpass oil as the key fuel for the global economy by 2020 despite government efforts to reduce carbon emissions, energy consultancy firm Wood Mackenzie said on Monday.
Global coal consumption is expected to rise by 25 percent by the end of the decade to 4,500 million tons of oil equivalent, overtaking oil at 4,400 million tons, according to Woodmac in a presentation at the World Energy Congress.
The two Asian powerhouses will need the comparatively cheaper fuel to power their economies, while demand in the United States, Europe and the rest of Asia will hold steady.
“China’s demand for coal will almost single-handedly propel the growth of coal as the dominant global fuel,” said William Durbin, president of global markets at Woodmac. “Unlike alternatives, it is plentiful and affordable.”
China - already the top consumer - will drive two-thirds of the growth in global coal use this decade. Half of China’s power generation capacity to be built between 2012 and 2020 will be coal-fired, said Woodmac.
China has no alternative to coal, with its domestic gas output limited and liquefied natural gas (LNG) imports more costly than coal, Durbin said.