Roy Gilbert

‘Coal is still king’ in Southeast Asia even as countries work toward cleaner energy


A man fishing as a barge passes on the river of Mahakam to load coal from the mining area in Samarinda, East Kalimantan in Indonesia. Bay Ismoyo | AFP | Getty Images Coal is still a dominant fuel in the rapidly growing economies of Southeast Asia , even amid a general global move toward cleaner energy sources, data from several recent reports show. “The narrative surrounding coal has been pessimistic across the world. This will result in the gradual slowdown of new coal-fired capacity in Southeast Asia,” said Jacqueline Tao, research associate at Wood Mackenzie, a commodity consultancy. “However, the reality of rising power demand and affordability issues in the region mean that we will only start to see coal’s declining power post-2030,” Tao said on Sept. 25 when the consultancy released a new report. “Coal is still king in Southeast Asia’s power market,” according to Wood Mackenzie. The coal industry has been facing widespread criticism from environmental campaigners for causing pollution. But global coal demand grew for a second straight year to reach 0.7% in 2018, data from the International Energy Agency (IEA) showed. In its report published in December, the IEA projected coal use through 2023 to be stable as strong consumption growth in Southeast Asia and India offsets declining usage in Europe and North America. “Coal demand grows across much of Asia due to its affordability and availability,” the IEA in that report. Not only will coal continue to be the dominant fuel source in power […]

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