IEA Says Southeast Asia Will Keep Coal Demand High
The International Energy Agency (IEA) says the need for cheap electricity in Southeast Asia will drive global demand for coal for power generation through 2040, even as many countries continue to retire coal-fired plants and cancel projects for new coal facilities.
IEA, which is set to release its World Energy Outlook 2017 on November 14, this week said India and Southeast Asia will account for the majority of the use of coal in the coming years, as those areas’ economies continue to grow and demand for electricity rises.
“Coal maintains a strong foothold in [Southeast Asia’s] projected consumption, not only because it is markedly cheaper than natural gas, but also because coal projects are in many cases easier to pursue as they do not require the capital-intensive infrastructure associated with gas,” the IEA said in a report in advance of the release of the November outlook.
The agency said about 100 GW of new coal-fired power generation capacity is expected to come online in Southeast Asia by 2040, increasing the region’s installed capacity to about 160 GW. The IEA said 40% of the new capacity will be built in Indonesia. The group said Vietnam, the second-largest consumer of coal in Southeast Asia behind Indonesia, will become the region’s largest importer of coal by 2040.
A report this week by Wood Mackenzie, a UK-based research and consulting firm with offices worldwide, including five in the U.S., said thermal coal imports by Southeast Asia will more than double to 226 million metric tons by 2035, up from 85 million metric tons today. The group said imports into Pakistan, Bangladesh, India, and other parts of South Asia will jump to 284 million metric tons during that period, a 72% increase from this year’s levels.
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Japan Eyes Millennium Bulk Terminals to Fulfill Energy Needs
More than six years after the Fukushima Nuclear Power Facility disaster, Japan is looking to the United States as a viable option for a fossil fuel partnership to meet its increasing energy demands. According to a 2017 policy paper, a West Coast port would perfectly fill the need while preparing for decreased Indonesian coal exports.
Fortunately for Washington state, one Japanese engineer said his country is interested in the proposed Millennium Bulk Terminals (MBT) export terminal project in Longview as a mutually beneficial opportunity for economic growth and clean coal alternatives.
“The United States is an important trade partner and ally to Japan,” said Wendy Hutchinson, MBT’s Vice President of Government and Public Affairs. “Millennium’s coal export terminal will play a critical role in ensuring Japan is able to diversify its coal supply, which improves their energy security.”
The coal traveling through the export terminal is a much cleaner alternative that what is burned in Asia, according to the United State Geological Survey (USGS).
“Using a cleaner coal product from the United States will make their state-of-the-art facilities operate with even greater efficiency and assist them in meeting their climate goals,” said Hutchinson. “Powder River Basin coals are lower in mercury and ash than Indonesian coal, and they are well suited for the new Integrated Gasification Combined Cycle (IGCC) Plants that are being built in Fukushima.”
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Japanese engineer makes case for U.S. coal exports
A Japanese power plant engineer this week backed a controversial coal export terminal proposal in Washington state to supply fuel for helping replace nuclear power since the 2011 Fukushima Daiichi meltdown.
But beyond thousands of miles of Pacific Ocean separating both countries, the ongoing choppy market continues keeping American coal from Asian buyers.
Retired University of Tokyo professor Shozo Kaneko, who spent his professional career working on Japan’s cutting-edge coal plants, penned an op-ed in The Seattle Times supporting construction of Millennium Bulk Terminals’ 44-million-ton export facility near the mouth of the Columbia River.
“The Millennium project brings substantial benefits to [the city of] Longview and the state of Washington — and it also offers Japan a sound solution to its pressing energy-security challenges,” Kaneko wrote.
Backers of coal exports from western American ports have been looking for allies to help spread their message, including enlisting agricultural interests to help make the case that increased shipping capacity benefits everyone.
Japan, the world’s fifth-largest electricity consumer, has become almost entirely dependent on energy imports since the Fukushima disaster. With nuclear plants shut down, coal went from generating 27 percent of power in 2010 to 34 percent in 2015, according to the International Energy Agency.
With no coal mines in Japan since 2002, imports jumped to more than 200 million tons in 2015. Nearly all of it comes from Australia (65 percent) and Indonesia (19 percent).
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The coal-terminal debate: A view from Japan
The Longview Millennium project brings substantial benefits to Longview and the state of Washington — and it also offers Japan a sound solution to its pressing energy-security challenges.
IT has been more than six years since Japan suffered the devastating earthquake and tsunami that triggered a meltdown at the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant. The world is well-aware of the massive destruction caused by this unprecedented natural disaster. Perhaps less well-known is that the disaster also radically changed Japan’s energy options.
Japan lacks meaningful domestic natural energy resources and consequently imports 96 percent of such resources. Nuclear energy was seen as a viable way to be more self-sufficient in meeting our energy needs. But Fukushima changed all that with the ensuing suspension of nuclear power generation and loss of public support. Despite a concerted national effort to deploy additional renewable resources, the loss of nearly one-third of power generation capacity was difficult to replace. We were suddenly more reliant than ever on imported fossil fuels to generate electricity.
Today, we are one of the world’s top importers of coal. It is a major, indispensable source of energy in Japan for electricity. Our economy and society depend on it as a stable, reliable energy source. A stable energy supply is also a matter of national security. In a region that is becoming increasingly unfriendly and unstable, this has never been a harsher reality.
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EU Blasts Donald Trump for Rejecting Climate Accord then Increases Coal Exports From USA
US coal exports have jumped more than 60 percent this year due to soaring demand from Europe and Asia, according to government data, allowing President Donald Trump’s administration to claim that efforts to revive the battered industry are working.
The increased shipments came as the European Union and other US allies heaped criticism on the Trump administration for its rejection of the Paris Climate Accord, a deal agreed by nearly 200 countries to cut carbon emissions from the burning of fossil fuels like coal.
The previously unpublished figures provided by the U.S. Energy Information Administration showed exports of the fuel from January through May totalled 36.79 million tons, up 60.3 percent from 22.94 million tons in the same period in 2016.
While reflecting a bounce from 2016, the shipments remained well-below volumes recorded in equivalent periods the previous five years.
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