Rise in coal production in China in 2018.
China strengthened its position as the world’s largest producer of coal and lignite (45% of the world production). In 2018 the country approved more than CNY 45bn (US$6.7bn) of new coal mining projects. Recent domestic gas shortages weakened government motivations to switch from coal to gas used for space heating and maintained an appetite for coal. China coal and lignite production accounted for 70% of the global rise.
Increased coal imports in China (up 4% on 2018, the highest growth in four years) supported a strong international coal market enabling production growth in Australia, Indonesia and Russia, three of its main coal suppliers.
India saw a large increase in production (+5.3% in 2018), driven by domestic demand and government ambitions to lessen the reliance on imports. Coal production fell in the United States on 39-year low domestic coal consumption, despite increased exports, and continued to decline in the European Union as member states increasingly commit to rid coal from the economy.
According to the Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC), a total of 60.4 GW of wind capacity was installed worldwide in 2019 (19% more than in 2018), raising the global wind capacity by 10% to more than 650 GW.
According to the Indian government, the installed carbon-free capacity in the country increased by 72% between late March 2014 and the end of February 2020, from 81 GW to 139 GW. Around 55% of new installations between 2014 and 2020 (58 GW) were solar power plants (32 GW), followed by wind (17 GW, 29%) and large hydro (5 GW, 8%). In addition, 2.8 GW of other renewable sources (biomass, small-hydropower and waste-to-energy) and 2 GW of nuclear were added. Total investment in the Indian carbon-free energy sector reached US$75bn over the 2014-2020 period, with foreign direct investments accounting for 8% of it (US$6bn).
According to the Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC), the global offshore wind power capacity increased by 6.1 GW to 29.5 GW in 2019. Offshore wind installations accelerated compared with 2018, when 4.5 GW were added, and accounted for 10% of the new wind power installations.
According to Statistics Netherlands (CBS), power generation in the Netherlands rose by 5.7% in 2019 to nearly 121 TWh (+6.5 TWh for net power generation). Most of the increase came from thermal power plants, especially from gas-fired power plants, whose power generation surged by 23% (+13 TWh at 71 TWh) in a context of low gas prices and high carbon prices; meanwhile, coal-fired power generation fell by 34% (-10 TWh at 17.4 TWh). According to CBS, renewable power generation rose by 18.5% (+3.5 TWh at 22.4 TWh) in 2019 (+8.5% for wind, including +14% for onshore wind, and +40% for solar), exceeding coal-fired power generation for the first time.