To meet the world’s demand for energy and simultaneously reduce CO2 emissions, the World Coal Association (WCA) has called for there to be more investment in cleaner coal technologies.
With coal still providing more than 40 per cent of the planet’s electricity, it still stands as an important element in modern infrastructure, and the International Energy Agency has forecast that coal use will grow a further 17 per cent over the next 20 years. Despite growth, about 1.3 billion people still live without access to electricity, and it has become clear that all sources of energy will be needed to alleviate energy poverty.
Technologies which can play a significant part in reducing global CO2 emissions include high efficiency, low emissions (HELE) coal plants and carbon capture, use and storage (CCUS).
WCA’s Acting Chief Executive Benjamin Sporton said the association has recognised the key role that low-emission technologies play, and has created a global Platform for Accelerating Coal Efficiency (PACE).
“PACE’s vision is for the most efficient power plant technology possible to be deployed when coal plants are built,” he said.”PACE’s objective is to raise the global average efficiency of coal-fired power plants and so minimise CO2 emissions, whilst maintaining legitimate economic development and poverty alleviation efforts.”Already-available off-the-shelf technology could see an increase in efficiency of the global coal fleet, making a significant contribution to global efforts and potentially saving about two gigatonnes of CO2 each year (that’s about the equivalent of India’s total emissions each year).The Boundary Dam coal-fired power station in Canada already uses CCUS technology – this project will reduce CO2 emissions by one million tones annually.Mr Sporton said that calling for divestment in coal are ignoring the role that that coal plays and the potential of HELE and CCUS technologies.
“It is essential that responsible investors actively engage with the coal industry. All low emission technologies are needed to meet climate target,” he said.
“We cannot meet our energy needs, tackle energy poverty and reduce global emissions without utilising all options available to us, including low emissions coal.”