Need for coal
World coal statistics
Coal is an abundant and flexible energy source that remains an important part of the energy mix, both globally and in the UK.
UK electricity generation
Coal is a major energy source within the UK, accounting for around 40% of our electricity.
Coal-fired power stations provide security and diversity of supply. They are also able to quickly respond to peaks in demand on the electricity grid. Coal ensures the National Grid is able to meet fluctuations in electricity demand and help to keep the lights on.
UK coal consumption
In 2012 the UK consumed 64 million tonnes. Electricity generation was the main market accounting for around 85% of consumption.
UK coal production
In 2012 the UK produced 16.8 million tonnes:
UK coal imports
In 2012 the UK imported 44.8 million tonnes:
UK coal reserves
The UK has abundant reserves of coal, according to the latest assessment given by then Energy Minister Charles Hendry in July 2011:
World coal production
In 2010 coal and lignite (also known as ‘brown coal’) provided 29.6% of global primary energy needs and generated 42% of the world's electricity. Total production in 2010 was just over 7.2 billion tonnes:
The world’s top hard coal (non-lignite) producing countries in 2010 were:
Over the last decade (2000-10) coal production has grown by 48% and has helped to meet a 28% overall growth in global energy demand.
Coal has the greatest reserves base of all fossil fuels with an estimated 861 billion tonnes of proven reserves: