Mining and Heavy Industries

South-East Asia to bolster coal demand: Report

Coal. Photo: Shutterstock.

Coal demand from South-East Asia will expand at the fastest rate of all energy sources to 2040, a new report from the International Energy Agency has said.

The IEA’s Southeast Asia Energy Outlook 2015 special report posits the ten countries that make up the Association of Southeast Asian Nations “are exerting an increasingly important influence on world energy trends”.

ASEAN comprises Myanmar, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei, the Philippines and Indonesia.

“Driven by rapid economic and demographic change, Southeast Asia’s energy demand has increased by more than 50% between 2000 and 2013,” the report identifies. “There is growing political will to implement more secure and sustainable energy policies.”

The report predicts South-East Asia’s energy demand to grow by 80% from today to just under 1,100 million tonnes of oil equivalent per annum by 2040.

This will be driven by development, and a population for the region tipped to rise by almost a quarter to 760 million in that same timeframe.

“In our central scenario, oil demand rises from 4.7 million barrels per day in 2014 to 6.8 million barrels per day in 2040,” the IEA explained, “while natural gas use grows by almost two-thirds to around 265 billion cubic metres [per annum].

“Coal demand expands at the fastest rate among all energy sources and reaches 440 million tonnes per annum in 2040, a level comparable to coal use in India today.

“By the end of the projection period, coal overtakes oil to become the largest fuel in the energy mix.”

The report does predict modern renewable energies – including hydro, geothermal, wind and solar – to “make inroads” in the ASEAN energy mix, “but the overall contribution of renewables declines from 26% to 21% due to the decreasing traditional use of biomass,” the report finds.

Roughly 400 GW of power generation capacity will be added in the region by 2040 – roughly equal to the combined installed capacity of Japan and Korea today – according to the report. 40% of that, it is predicted, will be coal-fired power generation.

“The rise in coal use is underpinned by economic factors, abundant supplies and the need for rapid electrification, but also highlights the need to accelerate the deployment of more efficient technologies to address the rise in local pollution and CO2 emissions,” the IEA warned.

“There remains significant potential for deploying more efficient coal-fired power plants.”

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