Coal

Coal supplies over one-third of global electricity generation and plays a crucial role in industries such as iron and steel.

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Key findings

Coal demand by region and scenario, 2018-2040

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Global coal use rose for the second straight year in 2018

This rise mainly came from China, India, Indonesia and some other countries in South and Southeast Asia, regions where demand for electricity has continued to grow and coal remains the largest source of generated electricity. There is a stark variation in the coal outlook between the Stated Policies Scenario, in which global coal demand is essentially flat, and the Sustainable Development Scenario, in which it falls rapidly.

Share of coal-fired power generation in the Sustainable Development Scenario, 2000-2040

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Coal-fired power is not on track

Coal power generation increased 3% in 2018 (similar to the 2017 increase), and for the first time crossed the 10 000 TWh mark. Coal remains firmly in place as the largest source of power at 38% of overall generation. That said, investment in coal-fired power declined by nearly 3% to the lowest level since 2004, and final investment decisions for new plants continue to decline. Coal-fired generation without CCUS needs to decrease 5.8% per year to 2030 to be in line with the SDS.

Reports