Doomed Love Affair With Coal

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End of fossil fuel era.

By Rubina Obaid

Currently world’s primary source of energy is fossil fuels which are formed from organic materials over the course of years. Generating electricity through fossil fuels such as coal and oil has fallen in the United states, European Union and India in the previous year. As these fossil fuels come with a cost of major contributor of global warming emission which is one of the most pressing issues today. Whereas for global energy mix the rise in overall power output is a turning point at the same time.

Today the future of coal in the US power system is uncertain and many plants are losing their economic sustainability due to renewable energy sources and leaving dubious circumstances for coal plants to be allowed for keep throwing pollution in the atmosphere.

Doomed love affair with coal
End of fossil fuel era

Transition from fossil fuel to renewable energy sources is a long term process and ensures environment, economic and moral sense. Tomas Kaberger, energy professor at Chalmers University Sweden said that US, EU and India are three leading producers of energy through fossil fuels and fourth one is China. Kaberger is also the chair of the executive board of Japan’s Renewable Energy Institute and a board member of Swedish utility Vattenfall AB, shared the data about 70% of the world’s power generation in 2019.

According to the data it reveals that power generation through fossil fuels has been declined by 156 terawatt hours (TWh) from the previous year. The figure is equal to the entire output of Argentina in 2018. On the flip side there is a great surge in power generation through renewable sources and overall growth rate is rising sharply that is 297 TWh versus 233, which is actually a great news for the planet as it would be cost efficient against fossil fuels and nuclear power plants, Kaberger added.

These renewable energy sources are way cheaper than oil per unit of energy electricity generated or the fuel produced from electricity will stand out against fossil fuels in transport industries and peak oil demand is closed, said Kaberger. He extracted data from official sources such as International Energy Agency and the US Energy Information Administration which covered China, India, EU, US, Japan and rest of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).

Doomed love affair with coal
End of fossil fuel era

According to the data, China being one of the world’s biggest power producers, was the exception to the decline and power produced through fossil fuels rose by 120 TWh in 2019, though renewable energy outpaced with an increase of 157 TWh. Last slump in fossil fuel power generation was observed in 2009 after global financial crunch and overall global electricity output fell according to BP’s statistical review of World Energy. That was the only year when overall power output dropped since 1985.

The shift from fossil fuels to renewable energy sources has been driven by countries which are trying to align their commitment under Paris Agreement on climate change in order to reduce pollution. Power companies in US closed down 15.3 gigawatts of coal capacity last year with the surge of renewable energy sources. As Japan resumed with more reactors the contribution of nuclear to global power mix increased by 91 TWh last year and electricity generation from coal in India fell for the first time in decade.


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