India’s 2023 Coal Consumption Eclipsed Combined European, North American Use

The consumption of energy globally in 2023 increased greatly, with crude oil and coal pushing fossil-fuel emissions to new heights. The consumption of coal in India stood at 21.93 exajoules, which equals about 748 million tons of coal equivalent (Mtce). This figure was significantly greater than the usage in Europe and North America combined.

The latest data from the statistical review of global energy 2023 conducted by the Energy Institute shows that Europe consumed 286 Mtce while North America used 310 Mtce in 2023. China is by far the largest consumer of coal, making up 56% of total consumption worldwide; with regard to consumption, the east Asian country beat its own 2022 record last year.

The review detailed that the production of coal worldwide reached a new level of 179 exajoules, surpassing the high set in 2022. One exajoule equates 23.9 million tons of oil equivalent, 34.1 million tons of coal equivalent, 947.8 trillion British thermal units and 277.8 terawatt hours (TWh). One TWh equates to one million megawatt hours.

The Asia Pacific region makes up almost 80% of worldwide output with activity concentrated in four nations: Indonesia, India, China and Australia. This quartet of countries make up 97% of coal output within the region.

The review also shows that for the first time ever, coal consumption globally continued to grow, surpassing 164 exajoules for the first time. The increase, which is 1.6% higher than the 2022 figures recorded, was seven times higher than the prior 10-year average growth rate.

Coal consumption in both North America and Europe each dropped below 10 exajoules, their lowest levels since the 1960s.

Despite these high figures, the per capita consumption of energy in India is significantly lower than in the developed regions, or even the worldwide average. In 2023, primary energy consumption per capita in India added up to 27.3 gigajoules per capita. This is in comparison to 115.2 gigajoules per capita and 230 gigajoules per capita recorded in Europe and North America. The global per capita added up to 77 gigajoules per capita.

A decade ago, the primary energy consumption per capita in India was 20 gigajoules per capita. This is in comparison to the 103.2 and 244 gigajoules per capita recorded in Europe and North America.

A recent statement from the Coal Ministry noted that demand for coal this rose by more than 7% on a yearly basis. This is an all-time new record, as India’s demand for electricity rises amid the longest heat wave in history.

These high levels of coal consumption show that coal extraction companies such as Arch Resources Inc. (NYSE: ARCH) still have a huge market to serve, and it will take quite some time before the need for coal is completely replaced by other forms of energy.

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