Foreign imports of coal could drive energy prices up

China and India may increase imports of coal by 78 percent to 337 million metric tons next year, with China buying more than it exports next year.  This would  further drive up prices from the highest in two years as the imports divert supplies from Europe to Asia.

China added about 51 gigawatts of coal-fired capacity last year, more than half the total capacity of the U.K.  China will need 2 billion tons of coal over the next 10 years to fuel the country’s industrial development, and this increased capacity is expected to make them unable to meet their own needs from domestic supplies.

Currently, Texas gets 43% of its electricity from coal-fired plants and imports nearly two-thirds of the coal its power plants burn, sending billions of dollars out of state.  In just 40 years, Texas could be importing more than 80 percent of the energy required to meet its needs.  Imports will make the state–and the U.S. as a whole– highly vulnerable to price fluctuations and political upheaval. 

The state should carefully watch the importation of coal into Asia and Southeast Asia as it makes decisions about its energy future.

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