Coal is the world’s fastest-growing energy source as rising oil prices prompt users to switch fuels, the US Energy Information Administration said.
Coal’s share of total world energy may climb to 28% in 2030, from 26% in 2004, the agency, part of the US Energy Department, said in a report published Monday. Consumption is growing on an average of 2.2% a year. The fuel will overtake oil to become the largest source of carbon dioxide emissions by 2010, the report said.
“With oil and natural gas prices expected to continue rising, coal is an attractive fuel for nations with access to ample coal resources, especially in coal-rich countries like China, India, and the United States,” the report said. “These three countries combined account for 86% of the increment in world coal demand by 2030.”
Crude oil for June delivery traded at $66.35 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange on Tuesday and has more than doubled since the start of 2004. Prices of Newcastle coal have gained 33% in that period, according to McCloskey Group Ltd. Petroleum and other liquid fuels will have a 34% share of global energy use in 2030, down from 38% in 2004.
Coal consumption will fall in Europe and Japan, where natural gas and nuclear power are likely to continue providing significant amounts of electricity, the report said.