3년째 하락 후, 2017년 중국의 석탄 생산량 증가.
석탄과 갈탄의 세계 최대 생산국인 중국은 2017년에 생산 제한을 완화하고 국내 생산량을 늘려 전세계 석탄 생산량 증가분의 절반에 기여했다.
중국의 석탄 수입 규제 완화는 특히 인도네시아와 미국에서의 전 세계 석탄 생산을 자극한 반면, 악천후와 산업 문제로 인해 호주의 생산이 감소했다.
정부의 수입 의존도를 낯추려는 의지에 인도와 러시아의 석탄 생산량은 증가했다.
According to the Ministry of Coal of India, coal consumption in India grew by 9.1% to 991 Mt in the 2018-2019 year (from April 2018 to March 2019). Consumption from the power sector, which accounts for 3/4 of coal consumption, rose by 6.6% to more than 760 Mt. Industrial demand also increased, especially in the cement sector (+70% to 37 Mt) and in the sponge iron industry (+2/3 to 41 Mt). Coal production reached 734 Mt, of which 607 Mt from state-run producer Coal India grew by (+7%), and the supply shortfall more than doubled to 23 Mt. Consequently, coal imports rose by 13% to 235 Mt.
Coal India targets a production level of 660 Mt in 2019-2020. The group will focus on new mines with a capacity of more than 10 Mt/year and will improve mechanisation to boost production.
According to the British power transmission network operator National Grid, CO2-free power generation (from nuclear, hydropower, wind, solar, and storage) accounted for 47.9% of the power mix in the United Kingdom over the January-May 2019 period, exceeding thermal power generation (from coal and gas) with 46.6%. This is a significant step in decarbonising the British power mix, which was still covered by fossil fuels at more than 75% in 2009: at that time, coal accounted for 30% of the power mix (down to 2.5% in the first five months of 2019) and wind for 1.3% (up to nearly 19% in early 2019).
The United Kingdom is heading toward zero-carbon. On top of renewable power deployment, large investments have been made in carbon capture and storage (CCS) and in building power interconnections. In 2019, nearly 65% of the electricity imported to the Great Britain was from CO2-free generation sources. By 2030, National Grid will operate at least six power interconnections (including from Norwegian dams) and 90% of electricity imports will be CO2-free.
According to the French Interprofessional Technical Center for Air Pollution Studies (CITEPA), greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in France declined by 4.2% to 445 MtCO2eq (excluding Land use, land-use change, and forestry (LULUCF)), thanks to a decline in GHG emissions from the transport sector (the first since 2013, in a context of economic growth). Emissions were also lower owing to a milder winter limiting energy consumption and to a better availabilty of nuclear and hydropower plants: nuclear power generation rose by 3.7% and hydropower generation increased by 27%, while thermal power generation fell by nearly 25%. Overall, GHG emissions in France have declined by 16% compared with 1990, against a rising population (+15%) and a growing economy (+49% for GDP between 1990 and 2018).
In May 2019, the French Ministry for the Ecological and Inclusive Transition (MEIT) presented a draft law on energy and climate aimed at setting France on a zero-emissions track by 2050. This new draft law lists a set of goals including a reduction in the consumption of fossil-fuels to at least 40% by 2030 (instead of the 30% target set at the Energy Transition Act (Loi de transition énergétique, 2015)). The draft also establishes a zero-coal target by 2022 and the reduction of the share of nuclear power in the power mix to under 50% by 2035, instead of 2025. Other major targets are envisioned such as the complete elimination of the use of gasoline and diesel cars by 2040 and the renovation of all low-insulation houses within 10 years (building sector). The draft takes some of the goals set at the Energy Transition Act of 2015 such as cutting GHG emissions by 40% by 2030 (and dividing them by 4 by 2050) and increasing the share of renewables to 32% of final energy consumption by 2030.
According to the China Electricity Council (CEC), total investments in power generation in China declined by 3.9% in 2018 to CNY 278.7bn (US$40bn), as investments in thermal power generation contracted by 8.3% to CNY78.6bn (US$11.35bn), its lowest level since 2004: investments in coal-fired power generation dipped by 8.8% to CNY 64.4bn (US$9.3bn), to the advantage of investments in hydropower (+13% to CNY 70bn (US$10bn)). Investments declined in nuclear power generation (-1.6% to CNY 44.7bn (US$6.45bn)), but also in wind and solar: investments in wind power decreased by 5.2% to CNY 64.6bn (US$9.3bn), while those in solar power generation fell by 27% to CNY 20.7bn (US$3bn). This fall is related to Chinese policies aimed at tackling a subsidy payment shortfall and at curbing overcapacities. Investments in transmission remained stable, at around CNY 534bn (US$77bn), but rose by 6.4% in distribution to CNY 302bn (US$43.6bn).
According to the CEC, renewable development, coal consumption cut and improvements in transmission and distribution losses helped reducing CO2 emissions from the power sector by around 13.68 GtCO2 over the 2006-2018 period. The average carbon intensity would have decreased by 19% between 2005 and 2018, from around 841gCO2/kWh to 592 gCO2/kWh. In 2018, non-fossil power generation rose by 11% to more than 30% of the total power generation in China, thanks to soaring wind and solar production. Moreover, curtailment rates are improving: in 2018, the average curtailment rate for wind power was 7% (i.e. 28 TWh), down from 12% in 2017, while it stood at 3% (5.5 TWh) for solar power, compared to 5.8% in 2017.