The Role of Coal

Canada's proven, recoverable reserves of coal account for more energy than all of the country's oil, natural gas, and oilsands combined (10 billion tonnes).

As Canada's most abundant energy source, coal accounts for approximately 61 per cent of the fossil fuel reserves in Canada on a Gigajoule (GJ) basis.  It is one of the only readily available and inexpensive energy sources in the Prairie provinces and Maritimes.

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More than 35,000 megawatts of power generation in Canada comes from fossil fuels, including coal, with a replacement cost of perhaps $130 billion at $4,000/kW.

Coal has a low, stable and fairly predictable price and is widely available.  This makes coal is an essential component of Canada's fuel mix and energy security.  Coal will continue to play an ongoing, critical role in meeting Canada's energy needs for generations to come. 

Technology solutions

Emerging technologies will play an increasingly important role for cleaner electricity production.

In addition to existing technologies currently in use to reduce coal's carbon footprint, the advancement of new technologies will lead to breakthroughs that will enable Canada and the rest of world to produce cleaner electricity from coal.

The commercialization of emerging technology solutions, including carbon capture and storage (CSS), will ensure that we can count on a long-term source of low emission baseload power for the future.

For example, new technologies used in Integrated Gasification Combined Cycle (IGCC) plants (which are still under development) have the potential to reduce CO2 emissions by more than 90 per cent. These plants will also significantly reduce NOx, SOx and mercury emissions compared to supercritical coal-fired facilities. These facilities also require about one-third less water than a pulverized coal plant.

These technologies will enable Canada's vast reserves of coal to continue as an important resource in providing clean power for hundreds of years to come.

For more information on coal please visit:

Coal - Natural Resources Canada
http://www.nrcan.gc.ca/energy/coal/4277

Coal-Fired Generation - National Energy Board
https://www.neb-one.gc.ca/nrg/ntgrtd/ftr/2013/index-eng.html

Coal Meeting the Climate Challenge
http://www.worldcoal.org/bin/pdf/original_pdf_file/coal_climate_change_css_report(03_06_2009).pdf

Coal Association of Canada
http://www.coal.ca/technology