Keynote Adress: Coal Competitiveness And Energy Alternatives
Organization: The Southern African Institute of Mining and Metallurgy
Jan 1, 2001
It is an honour to be invited as a speaker to this ICCR conference and a pleasure to be with you here in South Africa. I have been asked to talk about the competitiveness of coal versus other energy alternatives. Coal supplies nearly one-quarter of the global primary energy. Its most direct competitors are gas, nuclear and renewables. Oil is predominantly for transport fuels. Fuel oil is competitive with coal when crude is below its long-run average price and has some niche opportunities. But I will confine my comments to nuclear, renewables and particularly natural gas as the most potent current competitive threat to coal. Competitiveness is more than just cost and price; there is environmental acceptability, security or reliability and increasingly image. These factors are more of a spectrum than discrete issues. Dollars and cents remain the key issue for competitiveness but one must recognize the impact of politics in sustainable development and energy security.