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World leaning towards cleaner energy generation

World Coal,

The global power industry is continuing to progress towards cleaner energy generation, according to recent analysis from Frost & Sullivan.

Coal power?

The global power generation industry is seeing differing trends across developed and emerging regions. While gas-fired power generation will register a substantial net increase globally, coal-fired capacities will witness major growth only in emerging regions. Coal-based generation will decline rapidly in North America and even faster in Europe post–2020, as new emission legislations come into operation.

Frost & Sullivan’s Annual Global Power Generation Forecasts 2014 finds that the global installed power generation capacity is forecast to rise from 5640 gigawatts (GW) in 2012 to 9266 GW in 2030. During the same period, electricity generation will grow from 22,441 terawatt hour (TWh) to reach 34,458 TWh.

Dominant source

"Although generation from all fuel sources apart from oil will increase, coal will remain the dominant source, accounting for nearly 26% of the installed capacity and almost 34% of generation in 2030. Gas, however, is expected to catch up rapidly,” explained Frost & Sullivan Energy and Environmental Industry Director, Harald Thaler.

Major market trends include:

  • Boom in gas-fired additions owing to the need for cleaner, more flexible generating systems and the higher global gas output.
  • Massive capacity expansion in North America as a result of vast shale gas discoveries; gas-based power will also gain pace in the Middle East and China.
  • Strong growth in renewable energy demand across the world. The main driver for this is governments' focus on curbing fossil fuel emissions, partly to comply with international agreements on climate change and partly to support new industries in the field of green economy.
  • North America and Asia outpacing Europe in terms of renewable capacity development as the region scales back its support programmes amid weak power demand growth and governmental austerity drives. Still, global progress towards a low-carbon energy system will remain slow. This is mainly due to low capacity factors for most renewable forms of power generation when compared with conventional power.

Carbon-free power

Thaler concluded: "As such, the share of carbon-free power will go up only gradually; from 32% in 2012 it will grow to 38% in 2020 and reach 42% in 2030. Nevertheless, the additional 809 GW of gas capacity due to be operational by 2030 will contribute significantly towards a lower-carbon fuel mix, powering the global industry towards more carbon-free production."

Adapted from press release by Katie Woodward

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