From the Editor
By Holly Krutka
The International Energy Agency as well as national/regional energy agencies have projected that coal will continue to be a key component of the energy mix well into the future. In fact, it is expected that coal will overtake oil as the most used form of primary energy as soon as 2017 (or even sooner by other estimates). Although the future use of coal may not be in question, that will give little relief to production companies that compete in a world with today’s lower coal prices.
By Gregory H. Boyce
For 16 years Thabo Molubi’s productive day finished when the sun set. Without access to electricity, this South African furniture maker carved out a meager living with his hands. Then, an electrical line reached his village in the veld—and everything changed. He installed lights, power saws, and drills. He quadrupled productivity, improved product quality, and was able to hire local workers to sell his furniture far beyond his village.
By Xie Heping, Liu Hong, and Wu Gang
In the last 10 years, affected by strong market demand, China’s coal output has continued to increase and its production capacity has expanded at an unprecedented rate, with an annual increase in production of 200 million tonnes on average. However, based on China’s existing coal mining technologies, this level of output greatly exceeds the sustainable coal production capacity in terms of resources, the environment, and safety.
By Robin Batterham
Coal use has never stopped increasing and the forecasts indicate that, unless a dramatic policy action occurs, this trend will continue in the future. If this happens, then the IEA believes greater efforts are needed by governments and industry to embrace cleaner and more efficient technologies to ensure that coal becomes a much cleaner source of energy in the decades to come.”
By Nicholas Newman
Energy infrastructure construction is expected to “take off” and undergo rapid growth in coming years. The world’s demand for global energy infrastructure investments is projected to reach some €421.14 billion in each year to 2030, of which 60% will be spent on electricity. Power generation as a whole will account for 46% and the remainder will be spread between transmission and distribution, according to the International Energy Agency.
By Li Xing and Chen Junqi
Wang Zhixuan is a member of the leading party group and the Secretary-General of the China Electricity Council. He is also a member of the National Climate Change Expert Committee. “A coal-dominated energy mix in China is inevitable to ensure China’s energy security.”
Policy & People
By Benjamin Sporton
Halving global poverty was the centerpiece of the Millennium Development Goals adopted by the United Nations in 2000. It was adopted among a range of other development goals to fight the extreme poverty and hunger experienced across the developing world. Early in 2012, as the world began to prepare for the Rio+20 UN Conference on Sustainable Development, the World Bank and UN announced that this goal had been met.
By Nancy Lamontagne
On 4 March, U.S. President Barack Obama nominated Ernest J. Moniz as Secretary of Energy. The Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources approved the nomination in early April, and on 16 May the full Senate unanimously confirmed Moniz. Moniz will bring his expertise in energy policy and research to lead the Department of Energy (DOE), which supports science and technology development that addresses energy, environmental, and nuclear challenges in the U.S.
By Geoff Giordano
The unexpectedly contentious nomination of Gina McCarthy to head the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) perhaps mirrors the rocky road facing the coal industry. When McCarthy, assistant administrator of the EPA’s Office of Air and Radiation since 2009, was tapped in March by President Barack Obama to succeed Lisa Jackson, she was generally commended as a consensus-seeking broker of mutually beneficial solutions to improving air quality.
By Nikki Fisher
Healthcare is a sound investment for any company and is fundamental to being a responsible employer. It is not only about caring for employees, but also about improving business performance. Health and well-being are paramount to productivity and safety in the workplace. Anglo American, and in particular their Thermal Coal business unit, has proven this by supporting their South African employees in the battle against HIV and AIDS.
By Les Deman
In a government- and industry-sponsored study in 2003, the National Petroleum Council concluded that North American producing areas will only provide 75% of long-term needs and that new, large-scale resources such as LNG and Arctic gas would be necessary to meet demand. Today, some studies predict that North America will soon be a net exporter of natural gas and that oil shale development has the potential to reduce imports to zero within 20 years.
By Emily Medine
The increased size of the global coal market combined with the number and diversity of supply sources has caused global coal prices to be increasingly interrelated and to have spill-over impacts on domestic coal pricing in countries producing coal. In the U.S., the direct relationship has increased as a result of the relative weakness of the U.S. dollar, the widespread use of U.S. dollar-based indices to price coal, and a supply of U.S. coal available for export.
By Robert H.Williams
This is the second installment of a two-part article prepared for Cornerstone discussing how coal/biomass coprocessing technologies for making synthetic fuels and electricity with carbon capture and storage (CCS) can enable continuing major roles for coal in a carbon-constrained world. The first installment presented a long-term vision highlighting the merits of the strategy. This second installment focuses on establishing the key technologies in the market in the near term (next 10–15 years).
By Gu Dazhao
The western provinces and autonomous regions such as Shanxi, Shaanxi, Inner Mongolia, Gansu, and Ningxia, are bestowed with abundant resources. Such resources are characterized by large, integrated coalfields with optimal geological conditions, the most concentrated deposits, and the highest quality coal in China. After years of development, this area has become a coal production base featuring fully-mechanized modern mining techniques.
By Lesley Sloss
Ask any residential community if they want a new coal mine located in their neighborhood and you are quite likely to see angry placards and letters to the local press before you have even finished the question. This is not surprising. Landscapes throughout Europe, North America, and Asia have been decimated as a result of bad mining practices in the past. There are estimated to be over 550,000 abandoned mines in the U.S. alone.
By Holly Krutka and Li Jingfeng
The process of reclamation of mining lands includes many important considerations and is often far from simple. However, practices related to reclamation have improved significantly in recent years. Although the primary purpose of a mine reclamation plan is usually to minimize the impact to the local environment after a mine is closed, today’s mine reclamation plans can encompass much more than just returning a mining site to its natural state.
At a World Energy Outlook (WEO) workshop in Rio de Janeiro, Brazilian officials, representatives from industry, energy experts, and IEA representatives met to discuss work for WEO 2013. Brazil will be the key country focus for the WEO 2013.
Sinclair Davidson and Ashton de Silva prepared this report for the Australian Coal Association as a follow-up to the Reserve Bank of Australia’s report that measured the size of the resource economy, which was 18% of gross value in 2011–2012. The new report focused on only the coal industry and found that the coal economy made up 3.12% of gross value in 2011–2012.
Globally there are numerous conferences and meetings geared toward the coal and energy industries. The table below highlights a few such events. If you would like your event listed in Cornerstone, please contact the Executive Editor at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Peabody announced that its Energy Chairman and CEO, Gregory H. Boyce, will serve as Chairman of the IEA Coal Industry Advisory Board (CIAB). Mr. Boyce has been the CIAB Deputy Chairman since November 2010. A recent CIAB report entitled “21st Century Coal: Advanced Technology and Global Energy Solution” is available on the IEA website.
Coal production and import volumes in China were 1469 million tonnes and 136 million tonnes respectively, in the first five months of 2013, while import volumes were up 20.9% from the previous year. In addition, although total power generation grew by 4%, thermal power generation grew only 2.1% from the previous year.
One of the WCA’s main activities is providing information about coal, its uses and impacts, and how it can meet environmental challenges at international workshops and conferences. A recent example of such an activity was the WCA-sponsored energy and environment workshop. The four presentations at this workshop were focused on two main topics: the coal industry with the global development of shale gas and the current status of emissions control from coal-fired power plants.