Coal consumption in Europe up 7 %
(sustainabilityenvironment.com) – Between energy crisis, skyrocketing gas prices and war in Ukraine, 2022 saw a return of flame of coal.
The most polluting fossil source has once again set new records despite the global commitment made at the Cop26 in Glasgow to reduce its global consumption, also driven by the economic situation for which it has become cheaper than gas for some periods. On the other hand, the industry continues with plans to expand mines and power plants: half of the first 1000 companies in the world plans to expand the business in the coming years and the pipeline of coal-fired thermal power plants is 476 GW long.
Fly the consumption of coal
Global coal consumption has never been so high as in 2022. According to the data of the IEA, the International Energy Agency, we have exceeded for the first time quota of 8 billion tons (8,025 Gt), higher than the previous record of 2013 (7,997 Gt). Worldwide demand grew by 1.2% compared to 2021, a figure that incorporates +2% of coal per generation and about -1% in industrial use.
Europe returns to hard coal
The old continent contributed to this growth. With the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the race for energy autonomy from Moscow, many EU countries have chosen to restart the power plants. Italy included. At European level, the growth of coal consumption was 6%, equal to 29 Mt more than in 2021. The second largest leap of the year, just behind that of India where there was a 7% increase. It must be said that despite the increase, the EU still remains below the value of 2019, the last pre-pandemic year: 478 Mt this year against 487 4 years ago.
Italy rekindles the power plants
Italy also used coal to replace part of the 29 billion cubic meters of gas that we imported from Russia until last year. In the first 9 months of 2022, according to data from Nomisma Energia, the production of electricity from coal grew by 82% over the same period of 2021, reaching 21 TWh. Terna’s latest report for October shows a 56.6% jump over the same month of the previous year.
Record also for production and electricity generation
2022 ended with the absolute world record in both coal production and electricity generation from this fossil source. Also according to Iea data, the annual increase for generation is 1.8% and reaches in absolute values 10,339 TWh. Production rose by 5.4% to 8.318 Gt per year.