Strong decline in coal consumption in the EU, as in 2019
New decline in global coal consumption (-4.4%) despite growth in China (+0.6%)
China, which accounts for 52% of global coal consumption, was the sole large consumer posting an increase in coal demand (+0.6%). The country rapidly recovered from the COVID-19 crisis – its industrial production remained stable, supporting demand – and new coal-fired power plants were commissioned. Despite China’s policy to cut coal in primary consumption, coal consumption in China has not reached its peak yet. In other countries, the crisis-induced decrease in electricity consumption and the lower demand from the steel and cement sectors led to a fall in coal consumption. The crisis accelerated the downward trend in coal consumption observed in recent years, owing to public and private climate policies, competition from cheaper gas-fired and renewable power generation and coal-fired power plant shutdowns, especially in the USA (-21% after -15% in 2019) and in the EU (-19%, as in 2019). Coal consumption also declined in India, the second largest coal consumer worldwide (-3.7%), due to lockdown measures, in Russia (-11%), in Turkey, and in large Asian coal consuming countries such as Japan, Indonesia, and South Korea (over a lower electricity consumption and forced coal-fired power plant closures to reduce air pollution). In Australia and in South Africa, a surge in renewable power generation and breakdowns at coal-fired power plants contributed to cut coal consumption in 2020.
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According to Ireland's Environmental Protection Agency, the country's greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions decreased by 3.6% in 2020 to 58 MtCO2eq. The decrease in emissions is reflected in most sectors with the exception of increases in residential, agriculture and public services. In the energy sector, GHG emissions fell by 7.9% (-0.74 MtCO2eq), as peat-fired power generation halved and renewable power generation increased noticeably (+15% from wind), covering 42% of the Irish power mix. Residential emissions grew by 9% (+0.59 MtCO2eq), as a result of colder temperatures, historic low oil prices (impacting heating choices), and home working. Emissions from transports fell by nearly 16% (-1.9 MtCO2eq) due to transport restrictions. Overall, Ireland's GHG emissions are still only 7% below 2005 level. The country committed under an EU agreement known as the Effort Sharing Decision to cut GHG emissions by 20% between 2005 and 2020.
According to the Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC), 6.1 GW of offshore wind capacity was installed in 2020 (down from 6.2 GW in 2019), including 3 GW in China, 1.5 GW in the Netherlands, and 0.7 GW in Belgium. More than 35 GW of offshore wind capacity is currently operational, with 29% of the total in the UK, 28% in China and 22% in Germany.
South Africa’s total greenhouse gas emissions excluding FOLU (forestry and other land use) increased by 14% between 2000 and 2017 to 513 MtCO2eq, according to the country’s 7th National Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Inventory Report. The energy sector is the largest contributor to emissions excluding FOLU (80%) and is responsible for 97% of the increase over 2000-2017. Energy industries were responsible for 61% of emissions from the energy sector in 2017. This was followed by transport (13%), other sectors (9%) and manufacturing industries and construction (7%).
According to the Turkish Electricity Transmission Corporation (TEIAŞ), installed wind capacity in Turkey reached the 10 GW threshold in early August 2021. Most of the capacity is located in the Izmir province (1.7 GW), followed by Balıkesir (1,300 MW), Çanakkale (850 MW), Manisa (750 MW), and Istanbul (420 MW). Wind represented 10% of the installed capacity connected to the transmission network (10,010 MW out of 98,800 MW) and over half (51.9 GW) was considered "clean" electricity. In the first half of 2021, wind power accounted for around 9% of the power generation, replacing nearly US$1bn in gas imports.