The latest data shows that worldwide coal-fired electricity generation hit a record high during 2023, as thermal coal exports simultaneously surpassed 1 billion metric tons for the first time. Coal-fired electricity generation was 8,295 terawatt hours (TWh) through to October 2023, up 1% from the same period in 2022 and the highest on record. Globally, around 82% of all coal-fired electricity generation occurred within Asia, up from 75% in 2019.

The footprint of coal mining and exports and its use in power generation is overwhelmingly concentrated in Asia. But even as the geographical area of coal use and trade is shrinking, the outright volumes of extraction, exports and consumption in power plants remains on a rising trajectory. Asia’s coal imports and consumption for power generation look set to continue climbing, especially in major and fast-growing economies such as China, India, Vietnam, the Philippines and Indonesia, where cheap power sources remain critical for industry competitiveness.

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