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Have the Reports of Coal’s Demise Been Exaggerated?


Despite the attention paid to ever-multiplying wind tower installations and other renewable infrastructure, new investment in wind, solar and other clean energy projects actually dropped sharply in developing nations in 2018, according to a new report from research firm BloombergNEF (BNEF).

“Meanwhile,” BNEF reported, “the volume of actual coal-fired power generated and consumed in developing countries [particularly China] jumped to 6.9 thousand terawatt-hours in 2018, up from 6.4 thousand in 2017. The approximately 500 terawatt hours in new coal consumption is roughly equivalent to all the power consumed in Texas in a normal year. Across the 104 emerging markets surveyed in Climatescope, coal accounted for 47 percent of all generation.”

BNEF said the majority of power to be generated in developing nations continues to come from fossil fuel sources such as coal. “This is due to wind and solar projects generating only when natural resources are available, while oil, coal and gas plants can potentially produce around the clock,” BNEF noted.