Coal is both the largest source of electricity generation and the largest single source of CO2 emissions, creating a unique challenge in transitioning to low-carbon energy systems.Read more
Last updated Nov 15, 2022
Key strategies to reduce emissions of existing coal-fired plants in the in the Announced Pledges Scenario, 2022-2050Open
Rapid scale up of clean electricity generation and infrastructure is essential for coal transitions in the power sector
Many of the transitions away from coal observed so far have been driven by rapid uptake of solar PV and wind; however, these have typically been in countries where electricity demand was flat or in decline. A key challenge ahead is to achieve such transitions in fast‐growing emerging market and developing economies such as India and Indonesia, where demand for electricity causes generation from coal to increase until the early 2030s in the APS even with a speedy deployment of renewables.
Annual change in CO2 emissions and generation from unabated coal-fired power plants in the Net Zero Scenario, 2015-2030Open
Coal-fired electricity at an all-time high
Given that no new coal plants have been fitted with carbon capture, utilisation and storage (CCUS), the only emission reductions are from efficiency gains. Some efficiency gains have been reported in China, though the increase is limited to around 0.2%. These trends are not on track with the Net Zero Emissions by 2050 Scenario, which calls for an annual average 9% reduction in unabated coal-fired generation between 2022 and 2030 and a complete phaseout by 2040.
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Sectoral overviewMore efforts needed
The FBC TCP provides a framework for international collaboration on energy technology development and deployment of the fluidized bed conversion of solid fuels applied to clean energy. The main activity of the FBC TCP is technical exchange during meetings and workshops. Participants carry out research on operational issues in support of commercial fluidized bed conversion activities and share results. Fluidized bed conversion offers several advantages over pulverized fuel combustion, notably low emissions and the ability to burn a wide range of fuels including waste and biomass.
Founded in 1991, the remit of the GHG TCP is to evaluate options and assess the progress of carbon capture and storage, and other technologies that can reduce greenhouse gas emissions derived from the use of fossil fuels, biomass and waste. The aim of the TCP is to help accelerate energy technology innovation by ensuring that stakeholders from both the public and private sectors share knowledge, work collaboratively and, where appropriate, pool resources to deliver integrated and cost-effective solutions.
The ICSC TCP provides independent information and analysis on all coal related trends and all aspects of coal production, transport, processing and utilisation within the rationale for balancing security of supply, affordability and environmental issues. Topics include efficiency improvements, lowering greenhouse gas and non-greenhouse gas emissions, reducing water stress, ensuring poverty alleviation through universal access to robust and reliable electricity, together with other sustainability and socially led goals.
Coal in Net Zero Transitions: Strategies for Rapid, Secure and People-Centred Change
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Global coal demand is set to return to its all-time high in 2022
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