Exploiting natural resources creates jobs and adds to economic wealth. It always has and always will.
In the EU, the most abundant energy resource is coal. In these times of austerity and high unemployment, the EU can look forward to a future fuelled by coal, not dirty old coal of the past, but with modern clean coal technologies fit for the 21st century and in use today in Europe.
- Abundant, affordable and available: in the EU, 88% of our energy reserves lie in coal beds.
- Competitive energy: without inter-fuel competition from coal, we would be faced with much higher energy prices for industrial and residential electricity.
- Base-load power generation: given the intermittency of renewables, coal and other conventional fuels will be needed for many years to come.
- Quality jobs and wealth creation: coal is a large and mature industry that employs over one quarter of a million people in well-paid jobs, and many more at the suppliers of equipment and materials.
- Secure energy: in 2013, the EU spent €500 billion on energy imports – 4% of GDP compared with just 1.5% in 2002 – a burden that coal can reduce.
- Clean energy: the latest coal plants cut CO2 emissions by 30% or more; sulphur dioxide emissions have fallen 80% since 1990 and other pollutant emissions have been massively cut since the 1980s.
- Flexible energy: coal- and gas-fired power plants are equally capable of balancing the intermittent output from wind turbines and solar PV panels.
- Sustainable energy: by embracing new technologies, coal and other energy sources have a bright future – all will be needed to meet the forecast growth in demand. The widespread modernisation of Europe’s coal-fired power plants offers a low-cost route to emissions reductions through improved efficiency.
- A 3-step strategy: EURACOAL calls for state-of-the-art technologies to be deployed today, research carried out in readiness for tomorrow so that CCS can be deployed the day after tomorrow.
The energy supply of the 21st century is more than ever shaped by coal. Almost all developing and threshold countries trust that coal is a long-term, reliable basis for the development of the economy and society.
According to estimates of the International Energy Agency (IEA), coal will have the same importance as oil for the world-wide supply of energy until 2030.
Hard coal and lignite represent approximately 80% of EU reserves of fossil fuels. As coal ensures safe, reliable, affordable and sustainable energy for all, it will be very much needed in the decades to come.
On a global scale coal is and will be energy No.1 for power generation. Coal-fired power generation technology still has substantial potential for development and cost-efficient climate protection with coal is already possible today.
Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) is important for international climate protection policies; it is expected to deliver one fifth of very ambitious GHG reductions by 2050. For CCS to become commercial in the next decades, an EU CCS demonstration network has to be created in this decade.
An appropriate climate protection policy must consider all greenhouse gas emissions from all fossil fuels.
An efficient and affordable CO2 transport network on European level is needed and the EU should pro-actively promote the creation of a CO2 infrastructure together with EU Member States.
Coal utilisation can co-exist with the development of power generation based considerably on renewables. Precisely new coal-fired power plants will be able to meet the variable feeding in of larger quantities of power from renewables much more flexibly and cover the gaps in supply.
EURACOAL is therefore focusing on the three following priorities:
- addressing the slowdown of investment in new coal-fired power plants;
- promoting the successful demonstration of CCS, including transport and storage infrastructure;
- ensuring a rational EU energy policy that values a diversified energy mix, including coal.