Global coal power generation set to drop by record 3% in 2019

25th November 2019 | Commercial Energy

Reduction in electricity generation from the polluting fossil fuel could help curb rising carbon emissions. The amount of electricity generated from coal plants around the world is on track to drop by a record 3% in 2019, analysis suggests.

Assessment of monthly electricity data from countries worldwide indicates a fall of around 300 terawatt hours from coal in 2019 – more than the combined output from coal power in Germany, Spain and the UK last year. The drop in coal power – a key source of greenhouse gas pollution – in 2019 compared to 2018 raises the prospect the world could see a slowing-down in the growth of global carbon emissions in 2019.

Coal power

But global coal use and carbon emissions remain far higher than the level needed to meet international targets under the Paris Agreement to limit global temperature rises and prevent the worst impacts of climate change, the analysis published on climate and energy website Carbon Brief warns. The global fall in electricity production from coal, which is based on analysis for the first seven to 10 months of 2019, comes after decades of mostly rising levels of coal power.

It is down in part to record reductions in developed countries including Germany, the EU as a whole and South Korea, the analysis by Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air, Sandbag and the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis finds. The biggest reduction is taking place in the US, despite support for coal power by President Donald Trump, as several large power plants close.

The EU saw a 19% year-on-year decline in coal-fired power generation in the first half of 2019 and that looks to be accelerating to around 23% for the year as a whole, with around half that fall down to wind and solar and half to gas.

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