OPINION: Demand for coal strong and set to increase

October 20, 2015

This opinion piece originally featured in the Newcastle Herald on Tuesday October 20 2015

New data released last week has confirmed the bright future for Hunter coal.

In its latest forecast, the independent International Energy Agency (IEA) has predicted demand for coal in south-east Asia to triple over the next 25 years.
The IEA's Southeast Asia Energy Outlook report predicts that this rapid increase in demand for coal will outstrip the supply ability of domestic south-east Asian suppliers, placing Hunter coal producers in a prime position to provide quality thermal coal.
This supports recent data showing that coal exports from the Port of Newcastle increased by more than 3 per cent over the last financial year.
We are exporting more coal than ever before, continuing the trend of the last few years, and reinforcing the need for sensible infrastructure planning over the long term, including the recent welcome T4 approval.
The growth in demand for NSW coal is being driven by the development of new power stations across Asia.
Recent research released by the IEA's Clean Coal Centre, based in the UK, has found that there are currently 670 new generation high efficiency, low emissions (HELE) coal-fired power generation units in operation in 10 Asian economies, with more than 1000 more planned or under construction across Asia, including in China and India.
These power stations generally use high-quality thermal coal, the type produced in NSW, and generate 20 to 25 per cent less carbon emissions than existing power stations.
Many of our international competitors are unable to produce coal to the specifications required by these new high-tech plants.
Our cleaner, high-quality coal will be well placed to meet the likely growth in demand from the development of these new power plants.
This global need for more coal is good news for our state and our region. Coal is our most valuable export commodity. It underpins the economic strength of the Hunter and NSW.
Here in the Hunter it provides more than 11,000 direct full-time jobs and supports thousands more in businesses that supply our miners.

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