Coal miners welcome report that calls for imperative 2˚C climate target

The World Coal Association (WCA) has welcomed today the publication of the report “The Role of Coal for Energy Security in World Regions” by the Coal Industry Advisory Board to the International Energy Agency (CIAB) on the role of coal in energy security.

Significant findings from the report include:

  • Coal is widely used across countries and regions to ensure the security of energy supply as measured through affordable energy, broader dependable access for consumers and increased economic competitiveness.
  • There is no trade-off between the increased use of renewable energies and the use of coal; instead there is a partnership which is needed to meet global, regional and country level energy requirements now and in the future.
  • The widespread deployment of clean coal technologies, high efficiency low emissions (HELE) and carbon capture storage (CCS) is needed to meet a 2˚C climate target.

Following the launch of the report, the WCA Chief Executive Benjamin Sporton commented: “As the Paris Agreement is formally adopted, it is vitally important that its implementation integrates environmental imperatives with the aims of universal access to energy, energy security and social and economic development. All low-carbon technologies must play a role including HELE coal technology and CCS.”

Dr Hans-Wilhelm Schiffer, leader of the CIAB Energy Security Working Group and lead author of the report said: “Coal and renewables complement each other and are partners in the effort to meet present and future energy requirements. Coal-fired power plants provide dispatchable capacity due to their ability to operate flexibly and so compensate for the fluctuations of wind and solar energy supply. In addition, coal-fired power plants can also be seen as an economic balance to the higher system costs of most renewable energies.”

The report considers how the use of coal contributes to affordable energy prices, and allows broader access to electricity and improved industrial competitiveness of economies in various regions. Coal is found to be a key component of a secure energy supply in all the regions/countries covered.

Applying advanced coal-based technologies, like HELE coal plants and CCS technologies, contributes to improving not only the environmental impacts but also leads to increased security of supply. HELE coal technologies provide significant immediate CO2 emission reductions and are a key step on the pathway to CCS.

In order to meet the growing global energy demand and to simultaneously reduce global greenhouse gas emissions, a key recommendation from the report is to increase the support for HELE coal-fired plants and CCS technologies. HELE coal technologies provide a source for significant immediate CO2 emission reduction and are a key first step towards CCS.