The role of coal in Asia




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Coal is the dominant fuel in the primary energy supply of Asia. East Asia accounted for more than 80% of the regional coal demand and China remains the most important coal user in the world. South Asia (mainly India) is the other major coal user but Indonesia is the major exporter of coal from the region. Coal is mainly used in the power sector but industry also remains a major user of coal. The coal industry in three major countries, China, India and Indonesia, has evolved quite differently. India and China produced almost same amounts of coal in 1950 but since early 1980s the coal industry in China has grown much faster than India. Indonesia on the other hand has emerged as a major exporter only over the last decade, after recording a major growth of its coal output from Kalimantan island. Coal will remain the most dominant fuel in Asia in the future but its share is likely to reduce marginally. The air pollution challenges of coal use and the problem of climate change will require adoption of clean coal technologies and more efficient use of coal in the power plants and industry.



Coal, Asia, China, India, Indonesia, future outlook


Bhattacharyya, S.C. (2017) The role of coal in Asia. In: Bhattacharyya, S.C. (ed.) The Routledge Handbook of Energy in Asia, Routledge, Abingdon, UK. pp. 150-160


Research Institute

Institute of Energy and Sustainable Development (IESD)