Forecasts that demand for coal will continue to represent a significant part of the global electricity generation mix signal the need to reconcile what is real and what is ideal, according to the World Coal Association (WCA).WCA was reacting to a report from the International Energy Agency (IEA) that the use of coal for power generation would be stable, at least in the next five years, despite calls by environmentalists for governments and corporations to ditch the fossil fuel and go for renewable energy sources instead. Coal demand projections are “a reminder that coal and coal use is a reality,” WCA chief executive Michelle Manook said in a statement.
“It’s time for a sensible discussion and collaboration to bridge the gap between the real and ideological worlds,” Manook said. “The world simply cannot ignore the reality of coal.”
She expressed concern about anticoal groups perpetuating the idea that coal cannot be part of the low-carbon solution. “This is simply untrue,” Manook said. “The entire coal value chain needs to unite in support of the coal industry to educate a global public that is largely unaware of how coal contributes to economic growth and everyday life.” Even then, she admitted that this cannot be done without cooperation from governments or investors.
“The IEA’s ‘all fuels and all technologies’ mantra is a framework for industry, government and investment policy collaboration and success to deliver both meaningful economic and environmental outcomes,” Manook said. “It’s vital that we see a level playing field for all low emission technologies, to ensure rapid and mass deployment of clean coal technologies.” She said this was particularly important in Asia, which was driving demand for coal and where economies needed abundant and low-cost sources of energy to power economic growth.