Energy sources

Coal Renaissance?

Summary: Coal is among the energy sources experiencing a rapidly growing demand. This is being driven particularly by the large amounts of coal used for electricity generation, and by the fact that some countries have turned away from nuclear power. The fact that coal prices have been falling for the last few years has also had an influence. However, there are also dark clouds on the horizon. For one thing, the burning of coal causes a rapid increase in the emission of CO2 and therefore results in global warming. The climate target of limiting global warming to 2 °C is already considered unachievable. And another negative aspect is the decreasing revenues achieved by coal producers, which has already caused some companies to run into financial difficulties, and has led to additional consolidation in the coal sector.

1 Introduction

Today, the nuclear phaseout and transition towards sustainable energy sources is one of the main political topics. For Germany, the subject is closely associated with phasing out nuclear energy by the year 2022. Up to now, Italy is the only country that has banned nuclear energy. In Belgium and Switzerland, the aim is to phase out nuclear energy by 2015 and 2034 respectively. With the decommissioning of the first nuclear power stations in Germany, coal-fired power stations are necessary for the baseload supply, at least for the medium-term future. In 2012, only 16 % of the...

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