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Power Station Coal Use: Prospects to 2000

AUTHOR: Martin Daniel
DATE: October 1991

This report assesses the prospects for world power station coal use, with special reference to future demand in steam coal importing regions. The report takes as its starting point the latest available government and utility plans for the construction and utilisation of coal-fired capacity. These plans in aggregate suggest very considerable growth in power station coal use.

However, it is increasingly accepted that these projections are over-optimistic. Most of the plans were formulated in the mid to late 1980s and are being revised downwards by governments and utilities in the light of concerns over the environmental impact of coal use, competition from other fuels (especially gas), and, in some cases, difficulties in financing new capacity.

The report analyses the likely impact of these and other factors on power station coal prospects. It is concluded that overall power station coal use will grow more slowly than anticipated, with demand for traded coal being particularly affected. Nevertheless, overall coal use will reach almost 3 billion tonnes in 2000, while seaborne steam coal demand is likely to more than double to 248 million tonnes.

These conclusions are based on a detailed assessment of power station fueling requirements in over 120 countries, with the results grouped into 14 world regions. Projections of coal-fired capacity and consumption are shown for each region by coal type (eg lignite or bituminous) and source (indigenous or imported), and in the context of trends in overall electricity supply. The report also summarises the prospects for imported and overall coal use in individual countries.