Some Key Points
- Coal is the most polluting form of electricity generation in terms of CO2.
- Approximately 1000g of CO2 is produced per kWh of electricity generated, this equates to 0.001Gt per TWh.
- For natural gas approximately 470g of CO2 is produced per kWh of electricity generated.
- 9723 TWh was generated with coal in 2017. 10100 Twh in 2018, it's going up!
- Multiply the generation value by about 3 to get an indication of calorific value of coal consumption in power generation, the power plants being about 33% efficient.
- Multiply 10100TWh by 0.001Gt to get approximately 10 Gt CO2 emissions from the worlds coal fired powered power stations in 2018. Ok we may have more renewables but we are still burning more and more coal.
The data for global electricity generation comes from the annual statistical review by BP. We have specifically picked out coal as a major metric, since the generation of electricity with coal is such a major source of greenhouse gasses.
Coal use in power stations is an important metric. It is the most used fuel and produces the most CO2 per kWh of generation. N.B. multiply the generation value by about 3 to get an indication of coal consumption in power generation the plants being about 33% efficient.
A focus on the most polluting forms of energy consumption seems obvious, if we could just substitute coal with essentially zero emission energy sources like wind, solar and nuclear we would prevent over 9Gt of CO2 emissions each year.