By Editors of Power Engineering
The International Energy Agency has estimated the growth in global coal demand will slow over the next five years.
Global coal demand should grow from 5.4 billion tons in 2015 to 5.636 billion tons in 2021, or an annual growth of 0.6 percent, Reuters reported. Over the past decade, coal had grown by 2.5 percent yearly.
IEA pinned the slowing growth on lower demand in China and the United States, due in part to the growth of renewable energy sources.
But even as China diversifies its energy sources, the country is still expected to be the single-largest user of coal over the next five years. Its coal use will decrease slightly from 2.896 billion tons in 2014 to 2.816 billion tons in 2021.
The main source of coal growth is now shifting to Asia, where improving economies and growing populations are creating a need for affordable and stable power sources. India, in particular, will have an annual growth rate of five percent by 2021.
Even with the decline in demand, coal prices rose sharply in 2016, due in large part to a sharp cut in Chinese coal production. IEA predicts prices will decline next year and remain relatively flat in 2021.