Future of Australian coal: University of Queensland releases study

Continued use of coal and deployment of clean coal technologies is crucial for Australia's energy and economic future, according to a report from the University of Queensland

Continued use of coal and deployment of clean coal technologies is crucial for Australia’s energy and economic future, according to a report from the University of Queensland (UQ).

The report, commissioned by Peabody Energy, examines the social and economic contribution of Australia’s coal and outlines Australia’s leadership in advancing carbon technologies.

“It is important to recognise coal’s important relationship with Australia,” said UQ Professor Peter Knights.

“By providing information on coal from the history of Captain Cook’s Endeavour to the progress toward carbon capture and storage, the study promotes informed and balanced discussion at a critical time of public debate.”

“Australia’s coal drives the next generation of improved lifestyles, economic stimulus and technology advancement toward near-zero emissions,” added Peabody Energy Chairman Gregory Boyce.

“Australia has the equivalent of hundreds of years of coal. It produces some of the best quality coal in the world and is acknowledged as a global leader in advancing low emissions solutions through the development of carbon capture and storage technologies,” said Professor Knights.

Key points of the study are that coal is the world’s most abundant fuel, with trillions of tons of reserves worldwide. Australia has more than 260 years of high quality reserves, a resource that will outlast oil and natural gas by centuries.

It also states that the world will continue to rely on coal for electricity generation, with coal forecast to continue to fuel a significant portion of the world’s power generation (up to 38 percent) by 2015.

The report adds that the Australian coal industry employs over 32,000 people and indirectly creates an additional 126,000 jobs in Queensland and New South Wales.