Discussion paper

A global platform for accelerating coal efficiency (PACE)

15 Dec 2014

The World Coal Association released this concept paper in December 2014 on establishing a Platform for Accelerating Coal Efficiency (PACE).

The vision of PACE would be that for countries choosing to use coal, the most efficient power plant technology possible is deployed. The overriding objective would be to raise the global average efficiency of coal-fired power plants and so minimise CO2 emissions which will otherwise be emitted while maintaining legitimate economic development and poverty alleviation efforts.

Key points

- In the lead-up to COP21 in Paris there is no evidence to suggest that mitigation action arising from any climate treaty will come close to achieving emissions reductions necessary to limit atmospheric concentration of CO2 to 450ppm.

- As developing and developed economies grow and urbanisation increases, demand is growing for affordable, reliable and secure forms of energy in order to combat energy poverty and ensure competitive economies.

- This has meant that coal remains the world's fastest growing fossil fuel. Its current contribution to global primary energy consumption (30.1%) is its highest since 1970. In Southeast Asia alone demand is expected to grow by 4.8% a year through to 2035 as the region turns to coal to fuel its growing energy needs.

- There appears to be no concerted international government action to integrate the global priorities of reducing energy poverty and supporting economic competitiveness through affordable energy with global ambitions on climate change.

- Moving the current average global efficiency rate of coal-fired power plants from 33% to 40% by deploying more advanced off-the-shelf technology could cut 2 gigatonnes of CO2 emissions now, while allowing affordable energy for economic development and poverty reduction.

- Deploying high efficiency, low emission (HELE) coal-fired power plants is a key first step along a pathway to near-zero emissions from coal with carbon capture, use and storage (CCUS).

- There should be coordinated global action to support developing and emerging economies already choosing to use coal to do so with the lowest possible emissions profile. To that end the World Coal Association proposes a Platform for Accelerating Coal Efficiency (PACE).

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