TREND IN COAL PRICES IN THE NEAR FUTURE – di Filippo Secciani

*In origine case study valido per il corso in Fundamentals of Global Energy Business; Global Energy Management Program; University of Colorado Denver.

The current share of coal in global power generation is over 40%, but is expected to decrease in the coming years, while the actual coal consumption in absolute terms will grow. Although countries in Europe, and to some extent North America, are trying to shift their consumption to alternative sources of energy, any reductions are more than offset by the large developing economies, primarily in Asia, which are powered by coal and have significant coal reserves. China alone now uses as much coal as the rest of the world. While the global reserves of coal have decreased by 14% between 1993 and 2011, the production has gone up by 68% over the same time period.According to the IEA in 2013 king coal represented 28.8% of total energy consumption, and even 42% of electricity production.

U.S. Energy Information Administration
U.S. Energy Information Administration

The reduction of global resources is attributable mainly to the increase in demand from developing countries, which exploit it as an engine for development.China, for example, makes use of coal for about 70% of its energy needs. But India and South Africa have seen their demand increase. The cause is due to the increase of the population inevitably results in a greater demand, and also the increase in the income of the population. In Europe 33% of electricity is produced from coal, but consumption in this region are set to fall for the political “Europe 2020”, which provides energy sustainability through a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 20% compared to 1990; 20% of energy needs from renewable sources and 20% increase in energy efficiency and the increased use of natural gas imports. Another phenomenon to consider is that in Europe coal is imported and not a natural resources: the cost. For a ton of coal from Wales costs 80 Euros; a ton of coal from South Africa and Australia – including transport – it only costs 20.The United States, despite being the second largest consumer of coal in the world due to cost, but and a strong geopolitical choice will invest more in shale gas. Although in 2013 the use of coal has bypassed the question of internal energy for heating, achieving increases of 4% (source: Federal Energy Information Agency) strong environmental legislation – increased pollution by 2% (source: EIA) – will help to drive up costs and discouraging domestic demand and focusing instead on exports to countries in need of energy. Therefore, developing countries stand out as the main cause of the decline in reserves of coal, which unlike the other exhaustible energy sources is characterized by the easy availability of the material. The Indian power system is characterized by a strong rule of coal in all energy sources used; in fact, coal contributes to 53% of total consumption of primary energy. According to the “Statistical Review of World Energy 2011” BP India possessed at the end of 2010, approximately 7% of the world’s coal reserves, with reserves of 196 years; India could then in theory meet all of its domestic demand with domestic mining. However, the production is plagued by endemic low productivity and inefficient distribution system in the area. The strong reliance on imports can be explained only by the low productivity of the Indian system, even by the high cost of supply of the local coal (which is often superior to that imported) and its low quality, which limits the efficiency and the capacity production. In general in the world to build a coal plant is cheaper and faster than building gas-fired plants or GLN. Until now we have seen so as to determine the coal are basically the countries that are industrializing, i.e those countries where there is a strong demand for coal for the production of electricity and coal for the development of the steel industry. Conversely, in the already industrialized countries – OECD countries – the demand has stabilized somewhat, or has had an exploit linked to gas prices. The future of coal primarily depends on the advance of clean coal technologies to mitigate environmental risk factors, CO2 emissions, in particular.

sec3Coal is playing an important role in delivering energy access, because It is widely available, safe, reliable and relatively low cost.The performance of the coal market for the next five years is to be assessed primarily on the economic development of emerging countries or industrializing China, South East Asia and the Pacific, but also Africa. These are the biggest consumers of coal. For example, if China continues to invest heavily on renewable energy, accounting for almost 40% of the global expansion and 60% growth in non-OECD, by 2020 coal will be banned in six regions. Electricity and natural gas will replace coal for heating, cooking and other uses – the world’s largest consumer of electricity after overtaking the United States in 2011, China in 2013 had an energy matrix of 1247 gigawatts of which 801 came from coal. Coal – shows a report by Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) – is sucking huge quantities of water in mining and electricity production, about 98 billion cubic meters per year: 15% of the national water withdrawal. And if the development plans of this source of five large companies are realized, the thirst for this dirty source might grow even more, reaching 175 billion cubic meters a year, and then absorbing 25% of the national water withdrawal, which Beijing wants to limit to 700 billion cubic meters. The 5 great energy companies in the country – Huaneng, Datang, Huadian, Guodian, and China Power Investment – own about a hundred systems in areas prone to water shortages. To keep these plants safe from drought, BNEF estimated, would take at least $ 20 billion of investment, and in some cases companies will simply close down the plant which is less efficient in terms of water use, in the less rich in water resources. Another reason why you will tend to invest more in other sources is the problem of availability of water: one of the benefits is that renewable sources such as solar and wind power have over other ways of producing electricity is their lower water usage throughout their life cycle. All the thermoelectric power plants, gas or coal, do in fact need a substantial amount of liquid for cooling. Also one should also consider the costs for the construction of the dam and the Three Gorges Dam on the Yangtze giant plant opened in 2006 and completed in 2009 in need of investment, in time for a return of capital. On the production side, Russia has the second largest amount of coal reserves in the world, the country was estimated to hold 157.01Bt of proved coal Reserves as of December 2012, accounting for about 18% of the world’s total, and the sixth biggest world producer studies according to the International Energy Agency. Recently, Russian exports have increased more and more to meet the demand for energy coming from Asia

JRC, European Commissio
JRC, European Commission

The final factor to consider in order to measure the future performance of the price of coal is the environmental issue. Although this is primarily a political phenomenon, some economic considerations can be addressed: the case of European phasing out the use of coal, followed by the United States and to a lesser extent Japan, could push more countries resort to this source of energy. Lower demand will push the countries exporting producers to adjust prices downwards, also caused by a phenomenon that until now had been overlooked, that public opinion and public awareness that is slowly affecting the price of coal and definitely will do so in the future. Taking again the China model as a benchmark for coal, pollution also has a significant effect on the national health system due to illness in 2008 spending on public health in proportion were around 7.1% of GDP.In conclusion then we can say that an increase in the use of coal will be encouraged mainly by towing the developing countries and the gradual abandonment of developed countries. It will be a growth determined by the poorer regions of the world because coal is a material readily available and easy to carry with obvious advantages on the final costs. It is generally found everywhere, and this also has a decisive influence on the price, especially on the question.The problem of searching for alternative sources of energy is related to the economic situation of the countries, the more developed a country is, the lower domestic demand will be; vice versa as in the past, the coal will be the driving force for the growth economies. The price is still very competitive compared to other energy sources, which will help to drive demand where per capita income is lower.The production of electricity is still mainly due to coal and will continue over the next five years as in the previous cases because the demand will be driven by countries which are not yet fully developed.

 

REFERENCES:

International Energy Agency (IEA)

British Petroleum Statistical Review of World Energy (2011 and 2013)

Energy Information Administration (EIA)

Istituto per gli Studi di Politica Internazionale (ISPI)

Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF)

World Energy Council

 

 

Annunci

LA PINACOTECA NAZIONALE DI SIENA SI “SVESTE”

pinacotecaSe è la seconda volta nel giro di pochi mesi che un gruppo di laureati e laureandi in Storia dell’Arte dell’Ateneo senese, privi di alcun tipo di interesse personale, sente la necessità di scrivere riguardo la situazione in cui versa la gestione dei beni culturali della città, ci sarà pure una ragione. Lo scorso marzo abbiamo scritto in merito all’inopportuna presenza di eventi legati al Siena Sport Week entro gli ambienti espositivi del Santa Maria della Scala. Veniamo oggi a conoscenza di altri spiacevoli avvenimenti, grazie agli articoli di Montanari e Piccini, che hanno messo in luce, a pochi giorni dalla loro attuazione, le ultime decisioni prese dal Soprintendente Mario Scalini. Senza il minimo coinvolgimento dell’opinione pubblica e della comunità scientifica locale, si sta per attuare lo smembramento ingiustificato della collezione della Pinacoteca Nazionale. Una grande parte del corpus seicentesco, infatti, verrebbe separata dall’insieme principale, per essere trasferita entro la fine di novembre all’interno dei locali della Soprintendenza, situati a Palazzo Piccolomini, in via del Capitano n°1. Le opere che verrebbero spostate sono di fatto una delle ultime acquisizioni della Pinacoteca, in precedenza proprietà dell’antiquario fiorentino Giovanni Pratesi e acquistate nel 1995 a spese dello Stato. L’annessione di queste ha permesso alla Pinacoteca di dare testimonianza dei fatti artistici senesi a cavallo tra Cinquecento e Seicento (Manetti, Mei, Petrazzi, Rustichino, Vanni, Tornioli).
All’oscuro delle motivazioni che hanno portato il Soprintendente a prendere questa decisione, la stessa ci appare insensata per vari motivi e ci suscita degli interrogativi.
La Pinacoteca ha restituito fino ad oggi un’immagine più completa dell’importante panorama storico e artistico della città. Perché frammentarne dunque la collezione, di fatto annullando uno dei più importanti interventi ministeriali degli ultimi vent’anni?
Nel momento in cui la restante parte della collezione sembra destinata ad essere ospitata finalmente nel Santa Maria della Scala, ha senso quest’ulteriore divisione? Perché raddoppiare le spese di gestione museale, dato che questo provvedimento oltre ad aumentare i costi ne riduce inevitabilmente l’attrattiva?
Il relegare la sola “collezione Pratesi” nel palazzo della Soprintendenza, in spazi non idonei alla conservazione e all’esposizione (in prevalenza uffici), ne limiterà notevolmente la fruibilità pubblica compromettendo al contempo le possibilità di libera ricerca. Si sceglierà davvero di andare ad ammirare queste poche opere, in una città già palcoscenico di un turismo “mordi e fuggi”? Il fatto che la Pinacoteca rimarrà mutila di un importante nucleo di opere lascia spazio a delle perplessità circa le motivazioni della scelta.
In concomitanza dell’insensata privazione, veniamo a conoscenza delle ultime modalità di investimento di fondi ministeriali dedicati alla cultura. Dal sito ufficiale della Soprintendenza si legge che: ‹‹il finanziamento ministeriale […] ha consentito la digitalizzazione di una parte significativa e selezionata dell’archivio di Monica Bolzoni››, stilista italiana sconosciuta ai più. In una delle sale della Pinacoteca, di fianco a importanti cartoni preparatori (Beccafumi fra gli altri), è possibile ammirare alcune delle sue creazioni. Nonostante la Soprintendenza ci assicuri che l’iniziativa ‹‹consentirà ai giovani, sia di Siena che di altri luoghi che avranno interesse per questa attività “creativa culturale” (UNESCO), di esplorare anche da remoto, le tappe di una carriera tanto singolare, quanto varia, di uno dei protagonisti della moda italiana››, restiamo dell’idea che sia un’operazione di scarso valore, ingiustificata e dissennata. Crediamo che questi fondi si sarebbero potuti investire in maniera più intelligente per migliorare gli standard qualitativi museali, come la manutenzione dell’impianto di illuminazione delle sale espositive della Pinacoteca, in molti casi addirittura al buio, come può constatare ogni visitatore.
In un momento in cui Siena avrebbe bisogno di chiarezza e cooperazione per capire quale sarà il ruolo della cultura nel futuro prossimo della città, mettiamo in dubbio l’operato delle istituzioni responsabili e sollecitiamo vivamente l’interruzione della manovra di smembramento.
Crediamo che la cittadinanza abbia tutto il diritto di essere a conoscenza della gestione del proprio patrimonio culturale. Chiediamo dunque che sia data risposta alle nostre domande da parte delle autorità competenti, ovvero Soprintendenza per i beni storici artistici ed etnoantropologici e Ministero dei beni e delle attività culturali e del turismo.
Federico Carlini, Vincenzo Curiale, Marco Fagiani, Francesca Interguglielmi, Valentina Isidori, Luca Mansueto, Raffaele Moretti, Ylenia Sottile