Coal is losing power globally. Finally, the black fossil that ignited the industrial revolution is on a downhill. So validates a latest analysis by Carbon Brief. Based on the data for 10MCY19, the analysis highlights that the global electricity production from coal will likely fall by around 3 percent in 2019 – the largest drop on record equivalent to around 300 TWh of electricity
This comes as hope for climate and environment as coal continued its unabated growth for decades. The expected decline in coal's share in power generation come with the urgency to address the carbon emissions and its consequences on environment. Ultimately, the downfall of this fossil fuel could well be on its way due to the rise of renewables and natural gas in the power generation mix along with energy conservation that has resulted in decline in electricity consumption.
While the decline in coal consumption started earlier than 2019 for the developed western countries in EU along with fall in consumption by the US, 2019 has seem some significant markdowns for these regions. On the other hand, coal consumption in China that has been offsetting any global decline also eased in 2019. This is a key factor is finally predicting coal's collapse as electricity demand in China has seen contraction this year so far of around 3 percent versus growth in the previous years.
Similarly, the electricity demand in India has also slowed down in 2019 so far, where generation from coal is estimated to have come down by 19-20 percent.
A lacuna here however, is that China is continuing to build and approve more coal-fired power plants despite its efforts for controlling emission for climate change. This is largely because of its slowing economy and the need for reviving growth. Despite the expected decline in coal's share in global energy, the global CO2 emission are expected to increase in 2019 – albeit slowly. The growth of global emissions in 2019 was almost entirely due to China as it keeps adding more coal capacities, which is also because there is other fossil fuel like oil that add to the CO2 emissions.
Moreover, there is South East Asian region's increasing dependence on coal. The region has the third highest number of coal power plants in the pipeline after China and India. And Let's not forget to include Pakistan from South Asia that too has some significant coal megawatts coming online soon.