Joe Romm | August 8, 2013 | www.thinkprogress.org
Goldman Sachs has put out a must-read research paper, “The window for thermal coal investment is closing.” Thermal (or steam) coal is primarily used to generate power.
The U.S.-based multinational investment bank has some sobering findings for the dirtiest fossil fuel:
We believe that thermal coal’s current position atop the fuel mix for global power generation will be gradually eroded by the following structural trends: 1) environmental regulations that discourage coal-fired generation, 2) strong competition from gas and renewable energy and 3) improvements in energy efficiency. The prospect of weaker demand growth (we believe seaborne demand could peak in 2020) and seaborne prices near marginal production costs suggest that most thermal coal growth projects will struggle to earn a positive return for their owners. Continue reading>