Europe has accelerated the reduction of coal production and use in 2019.
According to the European Commission, significant results have been achieved through efforts to decarbonise the bloc's economies, world-energy.org reports.
In 2020, coal consumption decreased by 35% compared to 2018, while the use of brown coal decreased by 33%. Coal production has fallen by 80% since 1990, when the EU produced 56 million tonnes.
According to the EC, the decline may be due to lower energy demand in 2020 and industrial production through COVID-19. Only two European countries: Poland (96%) and the Czech Republic produced coal in 2020, compared to 13 in 1990.
In 2020, only 144 million tons of coal were consumed in Europe, which is 63% less than in 1990, as more countries switch to low-carbon energy resources such as solar, wind, natural gas and hydrogen. According to the Commission, the reduction in kiln coke production used in various industries, such as iron and steel, has also led to a reduction in coal consumption in the European Union.
In 2020, the unit produced only 246 million tons of lignite, which is 64% less than in 1990. Approximately six EU countries: Germany (44%), Poland (19%), the Czech Republic (12%), Bulgaria, Romania and Greece - in 2020, brown coal consumption prevailed. Up to 93% of lignite consumption in 2020 was accounted for by electricity generation. However, the use of brown coal has decreased since 2019.
Adopting policies that include the Green Deal, the Fit for 55 package, and increasing the availability of funding for green projects, increasing the decommissioning of coal-fired power plants in addition to sustainable development plans adopted by corporations and utilities are helping to reduce coal production and consumption.
For example, the CEZ group shut down a power unit at the Melnyk coal-fired power plant, the largest source of district heating in the Czech Republic, as the utility seeks to close three coal-fired power units at the plant by 2030.
However, other regions, including Asia, Latin America and Africa, continue to increase their dependence on coal for electricity generation.
In early August, China's National Development and Reform Commission announced that work would resume on dozens of coal mines due to growing demand last year as China's economy recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition, the Chilean Ministry of Energy announced its plan to use coal to meet growing energy demand after the drought has negatively affected the country's hydropower, which is Chile's main source of electricity.
However, as more and more governments adopt climate change mitigation strategies and allocate more funds to renewable energy projects globally, coal production and consumption are expected to decline in the coming decades.