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Peak Coal Happened in 2014: IEA

Unread postPosted: Thu 21 Feb 2019, 23:54:57
by dohboi

Global coal use may have peaked in 2014, says latest IEA World Energy Outlook

The world may never again use as much coal as during a peak in 2014, according to the latest World Energy Outlook from the International Energy Agency (IEA).

The weighty annual outlook is one of the most widely respected and eagerly anticipated publications among energy analysts and policymakers. The 2018 edition runs to 662 pages and contains the IEA’s latest view of how the future of global energy might play out, depending on political and societal choices.

Its prominence means the report is also a frequent target of criticism for having often failed to anticipate the rate or direction of change.

In its main scenario – based on existing national policies, plus pledges and targets not yet codified in law – the 2018 outlook points to a 25% increase in energy demand by 2040. This growth, largely driven by Asia, would be twice as large in the absence of continued improvements in energy efficiency, it says....


Re: Peak Coal Happened in 1014: IEA

Unread postPosted: Fri 22 Feb 2019, 16:12:26
by dolanbaker
On the face of it, it appears that coal consumers are switching to alternative fuel sources, rather than production maxing out and in terminal decline.
One change in policy or a new way of extracting energy from coal using a cleaner method than burning it, could cause an increase in production to surpass the levels in 2014.

Re: Peak Coal Happened in 1014: IEA

Unread postPosted: Fri 22 Feb 2019, 18:38:56
by kublikhan
Coal puts out a plethora of nasty stuff so the fact that it is leveling off is better than it continuing to grow IMHO. However it is an exaggeration to suggest all of the demand that would have been met by coal is instead met by renewables. Much of this demand is going to be met by natural gas as well. And methane leaks nullify much of the reduced CO2 savings by switching from coal to natural gas.

Natural Gas
Surging growth in the global gas trade – underpinned by the shale revolution in the United States and the rise of liquefied natural gas (LNG) – continues to accelerate the transformation of global gas markets. In the New Policies Scenario (NPS), natural gas demand in 2040 has been revised up by almost 100 billion cubic meters compared with last year’s outlook. The bulk of the revision is due to China, where gas demand grows rapidly, reflecting strong policy efforts to improve air quality. Developing economies in Asia account for half of the total demand growth through to 2040. Unlike other fossil fuels, natural gas continues to make inroads in almost all advanced economies.

In the United States, ample availability of gas at affordable prices fosters gas demand growth. In Korea, gas demand increases as the use of nuclear and coal in the power mix declines. In the NPS, China soon becomes the world’s largest gas-importing country, with net imports approaching the level of the EU by 2040. China today is also on the verge of surpassing Japan as the largest LNG importer. Gas demand grows in most parts of the world in the NPS.

World Energy Outlook 2018

The U.S. oil and gas industry emits 13 million metric tons of methane from its operations each year — nearly 60 percent more than current estimates and enough to offset much of the climate benefits of burning natural gas instead of coal, according to a study published Thursday in the journal Science.

The study estimated that the leak rate from U.S. oil and gas operations is 2.3 percent, significantly higher than the Environmental Protection Agency’s estimate of 1.4 percent. While the percentages seem small, methane is a potent greenhouse gas, and the additional emissions would erase the climate advantages of burning natural gas instead of coal during the period when methane’s effects on the climate are most pronounced. Though half of methane vanishes in 8.3 years, the Environmental Defense Fund says it is still 84 times as powerful as carbon dioxide over 20 years. The EPA uses a broader time frame and says methane’s global warming effect is 28 to 36 times that of carbon dioxide over the course of a century.

“Natural gas losses are a waste of a limited natural resource, increase global levels of surface ozone pollution, and significantly erode the potential climate benefits of natural gas use,” the study’s authors wrote. They added that, over 20 years, the climate effects of emitting 13 million metric tons of methane annually “roughly equals” the carbon dioxide emissions from all U.S. coal-fired power plants operating in 2015.

The study, which relied largely on companies willing to cooperate, cautioned that its estimates could be too low. It said that the worst actors were most likely to opt out of taking part in the study. In addition, the study has not updated measurements of local distribution systems, which could be emitting substantial volumes as well.

The International Energy Agency (IEA) said “methane is a potent greenhouse gas and the uncertainty over the level of methane emitted to the atmosphere raises questions about the extent of the climate benefits that gas can bring.” It said, “One critical question is the extent to which methane emissions along the gas value chain negate the climate advantages of gas.”
Methane leaks offset much of the climate change benefits of natural gas

Re: Peak Coal Happened in 2014: IEA

Unread postPosted: Sat 23 Feb 2019, 09:22:17
by Tanada
Its a steaming pile of BS.

Just for example coal burning in technologically advancing regions is continuing to expand. This includes but is not limited to China, India, Indonesia in Asia and most of South America and Africa.

Sure a little of that expansion will come from expanded 'renewables' but lets be realistic here, people in poor countries need the cheapest power they can get. Cheapest power come from burning stuff. Cheapest stuff to acquire and burn are generally fossil fuels as most countries have already nearly maxed out their biofuel production rates.

Translation, coal is cheap and that is what Uganda or Brazil or Indonesia need to pay for building and electrification of their grids so that their Joe6P can have cheap power and like them as governing authorities. It takes a lot more than a couple year long blip to call peak on anything, as those who have been here the longest should well know by now.

Time for the starry eyed optimists to watch a little video.

Re: Peak Coal Happened in 2014: IEA

Unread postPosted: Sat 23 Feb 2019, 11:44:23
by jawagord
I expect Peak Coal will be short lived, humanity rarely gives up on a low cost energy source unless it can be replaced by an equally low cost energy source ala America’s current switching to natural gas. And as we’ve seen with American oil production, the old “peak” which has inconceivably been exceeded 50 years later, shows we can predict trends but not absolutes.

Re: Peak Coal Happened in 2014: IEA

Unread postPosted: Sun 24 Feb 2019, 17:21:26
by kublikhan
It's from the IEA, not exactly pillars of starry eyed optimism. Just the opposite. The IEA has a track record of massive pessimism when it comes to renewables and a bias for projecting growing fossil fuels.

The IEA has been predicting the same thing with stubborn consistency in every single one of the last 15 outlooks, being proven breathtakingly wrong every time.

On the surface, the release of the IEA World Energy Outlook today brought shockingly bad news: the growth of renewable energy capacity added each year is likely to hit a brick wall, as of now, after more than a decade of explosive growth. There goes our best hope of decarbonizing the power sector and driving down global emissions. Not really though. It’s just the IEA, arguably the world’s most prominent energy analyst, doing what they do every year: putting out a tremendously pessimistic take on the future prospects of renewable energy.

The IEA remains in denial about the renewable energy revolution that is sweeping the world. The agency continues to project zero growth in the market size of key renewable energy technologies for the next years and decades. This is a prediction it has made with stubborn consistency in every single one of at least the past 15 annual outlooks, being proven massively, breathtakingly wrong every time.

For example, in the World Energy Outlooks published in 2002-2010, the annual solar power additions in the year 2015 were projected at 1-5 gigawatts, while the actual market size that year was 50 gigawatts – an astounding 10 times as high as the IEA projected just 5 years prior.
Why does the IEA keep getting renewables wrong?

The IEA is projecting coal use in developing countries to increase in use. However this is offset by falls in advanced countries, falls in China, and higher efficiency coal plants. China is currently engaging in a shift to diversify it's power sector. It is increasing natural gas imports while building nuclear plants and renewables in a bid to diversify away from coal and improve it's air quality problem.

In Europe and North America, coal demand remains under pressure due to low electricity demand growth, strong uptake of renewables-based capacity and, in the United States, the availability of inexpensive natural gas. Nonetheless, elsewhere coal demand could be more resilient than some expect, especially among developing economies in Asia.

Coal demand in 2040 in the New Policies Scenario (NPS) has been revised down by some 3% compared with last year’s outlook. Downward revisions have been made for industrial coal use, as the shift from coal to alternative fuels in industry speeds up, and in the buildings sector where coal use almost disappears. Overall coal demand for power generation declines slightly in the NPS as moderate growth in coal-fired generation is offset by improvements in plant efficiencies.

Key Trends
In the NPS, falling consumption in China, European Union and United States is balanced by rising demand in India and Southeast Asia.
World Energy Outlook 2018

China is gradually diversifying away from coal. Recently, China has been able to meet growth in primary energy consumption even as its coal consumption slightly declined. Behind this trend lies the very rapid growth in the consumption of all other forms of primary energy, especially hydropower, nuclear power, natural gas and renewable power.
Coal playing smaller part in Chinese energy growth

"In 2017, China overtook South Korea to become the second-largest LNG importer. The first place was taken by Japan. It is estimated that in 2019, China will become the largest natural gas importer around the globe." According to a report released by the Sinopec Economics & Development Research Institute, it is estimated that China's natural gas consumption in 2018 will reach 277 billion cubic meters, surging 17 percent, or 40 billion cubic meters, on a year-on-year basis. This will account for 8 percent of the nation's primary energy consumption.
Natural gas imports hit record

Coal-fired electricity generation in China, the world’s largest coal consumer, is expected to remain flat through 2040, according to EIA’s International Energy Outlook 2017 (IEO2017). Other fuels, such as renewables, natural gas, and nuclear power, are expected to make up increasing shares of China’s electricity generation. Coal remains China’s largest source of electricity, accounting for more than 72% of the nation’s electricity generation in 2015. In the Reference case of EIA’s long-term international energy projections, China’s coal share of generation steadily decreases to nearly 50% by 2040, as generation shares from renewables and nuclear both increase.
Chinese coal-fired electricity generation expected to flatten as mix shifts to renewables

Re: Peak Coal Happened in 2014: IEA

Unread postPosted: Sun 03 Mar 2019, 16:51:39
by Subjectivist
Yeah sure, for rich western coutries where abundant gas and massive energieweind subsidies flow coal is declining. Rest of the world, not so much.

Re: Peak Coal Happened in 2014: IEA

Unread postPosted: Sun 03 Mar 2019, 19:21:59
by kublikhan
Subjectivist wrote:Yeah sure, for rich western coutries where abundant gas and massive energieweind subsidies flow coal is declining. Rest of the world, not so much.
Globally coal consumption fell in 2015 and 2016. That means the increase in coal use in the rest of the world was insufficient to offset decreases in coal consumption in China and the developed world. There was a small increase in global coal consumption in 2017. However this was insufficient to offset the prior declines. IE, we still have yet to exceed the amount of coal we consumed in 2013.

Also, not all coal capacity is equal. Newer technologies are more efficient than older technologies. Coal capacity has continued to increase year after year. However the older subcritical type peaked in 2015. The growing capacity numbers are coming from more efficient plant types such as supercritical, ultra-supercritical, CHP, etc. That means that it is not necessarily true that increasing coal capacity means increasing coal consumption.

Despite the increase in generation, investments in coal-fired power capacity declined sharply in 2017 from over USD 90 billion in 2016 to around USD 60 billion due to a slowdown in commissioning of new coal plants. Moreover, the capacity of new coal-fired power plants receiving final investment decisions in 2017 fell to just over 30 GW, the lowest level in over 15 years and only 35% of that registered in 2015. The slowdown in investment decisions during the past two years has been led mostly by China, followed by India and Southeast Asia.

Further, investments have shifted towards deploying more efficient supercritical and ultra-supercritical coal power generation technologies. The overall capacity of existing subcritical plants declined in 2017, as retirements of over 20 GW exceeded capacity additions.
Coal-fired power

Subcritical units have efficiencies of between 33% and 37%; i.e. between 33% and 37% of the energy in the coal is converted into electricity. Efficiency ratings for supercritical coal plants range from 37% to 40%. [Efficiency ratings for ultra-supercritical coal plants range from 44% to 46%.]

It is reasonable to expect CHP applications to operate at 65-75% efficiency.
Coal power technologies

Combined Heat and Power Basics

Re: Peak Coal Happened in 2014: IEA

Unread postPosted: Mon 07 Oct 2019, 04:38:37
by kublikhan
In the last few years, global coal production increased from it's 2016 low. However it has yet to pass its 2014 peak. Here is a breakdown of the biggest coal producers. China is still far and away the number one coal producer. However India has passed the US as the 2nd biggest coal producer.

List of countries by coal production:
Code: Select all
Coal production (million tonnes)
Rank Country       2019 2016 2015 2014 2013
—    World         7727 7460 7861 8165 8075
1    China         3523 3411 3747 3874 3974
2    India          716  692  678  648  609
3    United States  702  661  813  907  893
—    European Union 490  485  528  492  558
4    Australia      481  493  485  503  473
5    Indonesia      461  434  392  458  475
List of countries by coal production

Coal production continues to increase in India and the country is likely to surpass the US as the world's second largest coal producer this year. As India's economy grows, Indian power demand continues to rise, driving the increase in coal production. The government has set a production target of 1 billion mt by fiscal year 2024-2025.

Coal-fired power accounts for 55% of India's generation, but there is not enough domestically-produced coal to meet demand. Indian coal imports totaled 173 million mt in 2018, and are projected to increase to 193 million mt in 2019. In 2020, Indian coal imports are projected to total 213 million mt, surpassing China as the world's largest importer.
India to surpass US as world's second largest coal producer this year

Re: Peak Coal Happened in 2014: IEA

Unread postPosted: Mon 07 Oct 2019, 11:11:41
by Plantagenet
There seems to be a disconnect between the coal production numbers of the IEA and the CO2 production numbers of the IEA from coal consumption in electrical power plants.

The IEA report on CO2 emissions shows emissions from coal-fired power plants hit a new record in 2018, and have been consistently rising for decades. Growing CO2 emissions from coal-fired power plants in Asia is the reason for the overall increases in CO2 emissions from coal-fired power plants.


PS: I wonder if the spike in coal production in 2014 is due to some kind of special event rather then marking the all-time actual peak in coal production. China stockpiles various commodities at various times, and I wonder if China was stockpiling coal in 2014, accounting for this funny peak. Personally, I think its an anomaly and global coal production will continue up and past the 2014 "peak" in coming years.

Coal mining in India is increasing rapidly

Re: Peak Coal Happened in 2014: IEA

Unread postPosted: Mon 07 Oct 2019, 13:37:36
by kublikhan
Energy related coal CO2 emissions rose, but emissions from other coal uses fell. Overall coal emissions fell. The co2 emissions increase were from other fossil fuels, ie natural gas and oil. According to your link, coal emissions in 2014 were a combined 14.9 Gt. In 2018 they were 14.6 Gt. Other fossil fuels went from 17.2 Gt of CO2 in 2014 to 18.6 Gt in 2018.

You can see this by looking at the rise in oil and natural gas consumption. Oil consumption rose 2014 vs 2018 going from 93 million barrels per day in 2014 vs 100 million barrels per day in 2018, an increase of 7%. Natural gas rose from 3550 billion cubic meters in 2014 to 3937 billion cubic meters in 2018, an increase of 11%.

Re: Peak Coal Happened in 2014: IEA

Unread postPosted: Mon 07 Oct 2019, 15:22:39
by kublikhan
Plantagenet wrote:PS: I wonder if the spike in coal production in 2014 is due to some kind of special event rather then marking the all-time actual peak in coal production. China stockpiles various commodities at various times, and I wonder if China was stockpiling coal in 2014, accounting for this funny peak.
Just the opposite actually. China peaked in 2013 and it's coal production actually fell in 2014.

Plantagenet wrote:Coal mining in India is increasing rapidly
Not as rapidly as it is falling in the US. Coal production in India went from 648 million tonnes in 2014 to 716 million tonnes in 2018, a rise of 68 million tonnes. Coal production in the US fell from 907 million tonnes to 702 million tonnes, a fall of 205 million tonnes.

India has been importing a lot of coal but the overall story is the same on the consumption side of the equation as well. Indian coal consumption went from 388 million toe in 2014 to 452 million toe in 2018, a rise of 64 million toe. US coal consumption went from 431 million toe consumption in 2014 to 317 million toe in 2018, a fall of 114 million toe. IE, US coal consumption is falling almost twice as fast as Indian coal consumption is rising.

BP Statistical Review of World Energy 2019 (page 45)

Re: Peak Coal Happened in 2014: IEA

Unread postPosted: Mon 07 Oct 2019, 17:16:49
by Plantagenet
kublikhan wrote: China peaked in 2013 and it's coal production actually fell in 2014.

Thats not the whole story. You can't just pick one number out of a time series. You have to look at all the data. IMHO the high value for 2014 is more likely to just be part of the year-to-year scatter around the long term trend rather then a real turning point.

If you look at page 42 of the 2019 BP energy summary, link provided in your own post, thank you very much, the production data for China bounces up and down but the upward trend is clear in the data. Yes, 2014 production is slightly higher then 2018 but the overall trend for the last 10 years shows increasing production. If you do the statistics on the production numbers the bottom line is the data show a 4.7% INCREASE per annum in Chinese coal production over the last 10 years. That number calculated by BP is reported on the far right hand side of the table.

The same table shows a 7.5% INCREASE per annum over the time series for Indian coal production over the last 10 years.

Those are actually pretty healthy rates of increase in coal production.

Here's an example of scatter around a trend for a data set. Note the long term trend is UP, even though the last few data points are not the largest values in the series. The coal production time series data for China is similar.....yes there was a high point in 2014, but the overall trend through 2018, when you fit a line to the data, is up.


Re: Peak Coal Happened in 2014: IEA

Unread postPosted: Mon 07 Oct 2019, 23:59:30
by kublikhan
I didn't pick one number out of a time series. You mentioned a theory that 2014 was a stockpiling year for China and I was responding to that point. I did look at the data over time. I even looked at earlier BP releases to get data going farther back than in the link I provided. There is a clear pattern of coal production increases year after year in China. About 100 million toe increases per year, like clockwork. However starting in 2011 the increases slowed sharply to only 20 million toe. Then from 2013 to 2016 the increases turned negative. Production started growing again in 2017 and 2018 but we are still not even back to 2011 levels yet. IE, since 2011 China's coal production has been more or less stagnate. This is a sharp contrast to China's coal production increases pre 2011. Will this continue into the future? Who knows? No one can predict what will happen in the future.

Re: Peak Coal Happened in 2014: IEA

Unread postPosted: Tue 08 Oct 2019, 15:43:21
by kublikhan
Perhaps my use of the word "peak" for China was inappropriate as it might be interpreted as the final peak in China's coal production. However with China still building new coal capacity and coal mines that is not my view. Next time I'll say something like "temporary peak" or "multi year peak". Check it out, looks like 2019 is going to be another record year for China's coal production:

China’s coal output rose in June from the previous month to a record high as miners ramped up production to ensure supply ahead of peak summer demand for electricity. Output over the first half of 2019 reached 1.76 billion tonnes, up 2.6% from the same period last year.

Meanwhile, Beijing has been approving new coal mining capacity in recent months despite a push to promote clean energy and reduce its carbon footprint.

Meanwhile, China’s production of coke, used in steelmaking, rose 10.7% year-on-year in June to 41.69 million tonnes, with year-to-date output reaching 233.87 million tonnes, up 6.7%, the data showed.
China June coal output hits record high as miners ramp up ahead of summer

Re: Peak Coal Happened in 2014: IEA

Unread postPosted: Mon 14 Oct 2019, 19:18:39
by Pops