The United Kingdom reached a major milestone in the energy sector at midnight on June 10. Coal has not been used to generate electricity in the last two months across the country.
A decade ago, 40% of the country’s electricity was supplied by coal-fired power plants.
When the corona virus was locked down to prevent the outbreak, the demand for electricity fell sharply and the national grid shut down several power plants.
The first power plants to shut down included the country’s last four coal power plants.
Obviously, the Corona virus crisis has changed our energy use, at least for now.
But will this global pandemic completely eliminate our dependence on coal, the most polluting fuel for energy?
The Crowd-19 crisis has been unusual and horrific, but it is particularly interesting for environmental issues.
Everyone is happy to see clear air and clear sky. It is a testament to the fact that we are experiencing a unique energy use.
Imprisonment of millions of people around the world has led to an unprecedented reduction in energy consumption, especially electricity.
Such a drastic reduction in energy consumption has exposed to us an important economic aspect of the industry, and that is the decline in demand for coal. However, coal has played a key role in the creation of the modern world.
Some industry observers say the coal may not be able to regain its credibility after being hit by the Corona virus crisis.
60 days is the longest period in Britain since the Industrial Revolution 200 years ago, during which no electricity was generated from coal.
When I spoke to the National Grid, they said they had no plans to reopen the coal power plant in the near future.
For the first time this year, the United States generated more electricity from renewable sources than coal, although the coal industry has the full support of President Trump.
In contrast, just a decade ago, coal provided about half of America’s electricity demand.
Even in India, which is fast becoming one of the largest coal users, the demand for coal has fallen sharply and the country’s carbon dioxide emissions have dropped the most in the last 37 years. Occurred.
The main reason for the reduction in power consumption is lockdown. But it is of great interest to energy economists that the reduction in electricity consumption has had a greater impact on coal demand.
And this is happening all over the world.
For the first time since World War II, coal consumption has declined the most, according to the International Energy Agency.
The head of the IEA, Fateh Barol, said that only renewable energy demand remained in place during this period.
The decline in coal use was preceded by a global corona virus outbreak. Last year alone, coal-fired power generation fell worldwide.
The main role in this is the cost of electricity from various sources.
Fuel-fired power plants are more expensive than wind, rain and solar power plants.
It’s simple: you have to buy coal again and again. While it costs to install wind turbines, solar panels and hydroelectric plants, electricity is almost free.
Installation of a renewable energy power plant is now much cheaper than installing a new coal plant, which has led to higher investment in them. And these plants are getting cheaper every year.
Energy analyst Sunil Dahiya says the Indian government has tendered for a 24-hour power supply this month, and the cost of a solar power plant, including power storage batteries, is much lower than a coal-fired power plant.
If this trend is adopted worldwide, the use of coal will be completely eliminated.
If the demand for electricity increases, renewables offer the cheapest solution.
And if the demand for electricity suddenly declines due to a global pandemic or a strong gust of wind one day, the first power plants to shut down are coal-fired power plants.
Anyway, coal-fired power plants are 30 to 40 years old. So would any investor want to invest in a plant whose lifespan has been declining year after year and whose viability depends on the weather?
It has also faced constant criticism from proponents of clean energy, which is growing in intensity.
Finally, coal emits the most carbon dioxide gas and fills the atmosphere with toxic substances and carcinogenic particles. So far, its harmful health effects have not been taken into account.
Many countries add electricity generated from renewable sources to the grid on a priority basis.
According to Dahiya, the virus has shown that the coal industry in India is bankrupt.
“Our coal-fired power plants are operating at less than 60 per cent of production capacity,” he said. They can’t even repay their loan.
So it is surprising that international investors are abandoning the sector.
International financial institutions such as Black Rock, Sandered Chartered, GP Morgan Chase, BNP have already banned investment in coal.
Fateh Barol says this means that the future of coal is now up to the governments.
He urges governments to support renewable energy and discourage investment in coal.
But the situation is not so good.
Coal is a major part of China’s latest five-year plan, and the coal sector is expected to grow by up to 20 percent.
It is also financing coal power plants in several developing countries under its Belt and Road project.
The Indian government is in the process of finalizing a multi-billion dollar coronavirus package that includes aid to parts of the coal sector.
It has left us with a strange state of gossip.
Many analysts believe that global coal consumption will reach its peak in 2019, but this fuel could remain in use until the 2030s.
This is a disturbing situation for those concerned about climate change