New Pöyry projection indicates 1,300GW of coal still operational globally by 2040 without radical change. The report argues that the future role of coal in the global energy mix must include co-firing with biomass and a renewed focus on Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS).
PÖYRY PLC Press Release 10 October 2016 at 10 am (CEST)
A new Pöyry Point of View report highlights that, despite growing climate change concerns, global demand for coal has almost doubled since the Kyoto Protocol in 1997. The report argues that the future role of coal in the global energy mix must include co-firing with biomass and a renewed focus on Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS).
The global coal fleet makes up around one third of total global electricity generation capacity and around 40% of total electricity generation. As energy demand increases with rising living standards in developing countries and a growing world population, coal's cheap and abundant nature means it is still an attractive source of electricity generation, in spite of global commitments to decarbonise.
Pöyry analysis has developed a retirement profile for existing global coal capacity. The analysis reveals that without radical change, it is likely that the majority of coal-fired generation capacity will be with us for the foreseeable future, with the projection indicating around 1,300GW still in operation by 2040. Significantly, the Pöyry projection does not factor the several hundred GW of new coal which is under construction around the world and the many more that are still in planning.
Matt Brown, Vice President at Pöyry Management Consulting, said, "Our research has revealed a worrying situation where we risk sleep walking into the mid- century having not addressed the challenges posed by coal to the environment. As world leaders gathered at COP21, there was an implied commitment to reach net- zero emissions by 2050. Without significant change, that commitment may be difficult to meet with the retirement portfolio we are projecting for coal.
Increasing the coal fleet's efficiency is very important but in addition we need to co-fire coal capacity with biomass and push harder on CCS. Sadly on CCS, we are in need of urgent practical progress when it comes to the appraisal and development of CO2 storage sites and the economic model that makes costly CCS plants competitive with their carbon-emitting counterparts".
The global coal fleet is spread around the world, with 45% of capacity in China, 16% in the US, 9% in India and 8% in Europe - the remainder is distributed across many countries. Matt added, "If we want to keep the lights on and save the planet then governments and companies alike need to urgently address the coal conundrum".
Download The Coal Conundrum Point of View report
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Pöyry is an international consulting and engineering company. We serve clients globally across the energy and industrial sectors and provide local services in our core markets. We deliver management consulting and engineering services, underpinned by strong project implementation capability and expertise. Our focus sectors are power generation, transmission & distribution, forest industry, chemicals & biorefining, mining & metals, transportation and water. Pöyry has an extensive local office network employing about 6,000 experts. Pöyry's net sales in 2015 were EUR 575 million and the company's shares are quoted on Nasdaq Helsinki (Pöyry PLC: POY1V).
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