PARIS: The rise for the demand for coal is expected to slow as China looks to cleaner energy sources, the United States turns to cheaper gas, and Europe sees the end of a temporary rebound, the International Energy Agency said on Monday.
Annual demand growth for coal will be 2.3 percent until 2018, down from 2.6 percent forecast previously, the IEA said.
“Despite the slightly slower pace of growth, however, coal will meet more of the increase in global primary energy than oil or gas—continuing a trend that has been in place for more than a decade,” it said.
Between 2007 and 2012, demand for coal grew at 3.4 percent a year. Coal consumption grew to 7.7 billion metric tons (MT) in 2012, up 2.3 percent from the previous year, with China accounting for over half of the demand.
However, the growth of demand for coal in China slowed to the second-lowest rate in the last 10 years, slumping to 4.7 percent from 9.4 percent in 2011.
“While China will account for nearly 60 percent of new global demand over the next five years, government efforts to encourage energy efficiency and diversify electricity generation will dent that growth, slowing the global increase in demand,” said the IEA.
The IEA also noted that China had approved a series of projects to produce liquid fuels and synthetic natural gas.
The shift, if confirmed in coming years, “would mark not just an important development in coal markets but would also imply revisions to gas and oil forecasts,” said Keisuke Sadamori, IEA director of energy markets and security.