3E Intelligence

One month after the surprising report on coal reserves by the German Energy Watch Group, there is another report predicting a less rosy future for the black gold. According to Richard Heinberg on Global Public Media, the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre will, within the next few days, publish a new report “The Future of Coal,” prepared by B. Kavalov and S. D. Peteves of the Institute for Energy (IFE).
The three main conclusions of the JRC-financed study will broadly confirm the results of the EWG report. Heinberg summarises them as follows:
• “World proven reserves (i.e. the reserves that are economically recoverable at current economic and operating conditions) of coal are decreasing fast….
• “The bulk of coal production and exports is getting concentrated within a few countries and market players, which creates the risk of market imperfections.
• “Coal production costs are steadily rising all over the world, due to the need to develop new fields, increasingly difficult geological conditions and additional infrastructure costs associated with the exploitation of new fields.”

The study confirms a point I made this week during a conference in Brussels: how can the EU define the right framework for a low-carbon future if even the most elemental information on global energy reserves is lacking? EU Commissioner Piebalgs repeatedly promised to take action to stimulate more transparency in this area. What progress has he made?

The report “The future of coal” was published by the JRC’s Energy Institute after this post was written. Read the full report and a supplemental report by the same organisation on the “Coal of the Future“.

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