The World Coal Association (WCA) says this week’s International Energy Agency’s (IEA) ‘Energy and Climate Change’ report highlights the importance of investment in cleaner coal technologies.
Increasing the average efficiency of the global coal fleet from its current 33% to 40% would save 2 gigatonnes of CO2 emissions, equivalent to India’s annual emissions.
The report notes that high efficiency coal plants are also an important first step on the pathway to deploying carbon capture and storage, which requires significant further investment, it suggests.
“The IEA report highlights how crucial cleaner coal technologies will be if global climate ambitions are to be met. Even in a world with significant growth in renewable energy the IEA says coal will still be a critical part of the global energy mix for decades to come,” said WCA Chief Executive Benjamin Sporton.
“That means there must be more investment in high-efficiency, low emissions coal-fired power generation and carbon capture and storage.”
Sporton continued, “Calls to end the use of low efficiency coal plants must be matched by policy measures that support deployment of the most efficient coal technology. That means support must be made available to those countries who have determined coal is a critical part of their energy mix.”
“Development banks and climate finance mechanisms must provide financial support for highly efficient coal technologies. That’s why the WCA has proposed a global Platform for Accelerating Coal Efficiency (PACE) to help countries build the best technology.”
The IEA report underlined the importance of early investment in CCS to drive down cost and improve competitiveness as a CO2 abatement option in the power sector. It noted the world’s first commercially operating coal-fired CCS plant commenced operation at Boundary Dam, in Saskatchewan, Canada in 2014.
“As the IEA emphasises, CCS technology is vital to achieving global climate ambitions. However, according to the Global CCS Institute the total global commitment to CCS is just $20.7bn, less than 3% of the funding already being committed towards renewables,” Sporton added.
“We call for more serious commitment to CCS from governments. CCS must be given policy parity with other low emission energy sources. This includes the same public support, feed in tariffs and other mechanisms currently available for renewable energy.”
“The Boundary Dam project is a milestone in CCS deployment and highlights the significant benefits of large-scale demonstration,” he continued. “The Boundary Dam plant is already showing the cost of CCS can be driven down in future projects. As the IEA report noted, this means that coal-fired electricity with CCS will be competitive with other low emission power generation.”