By Peter Galuszka
Oilprice.com, a petroleum trade newsletter, has a story that could spell more bad news for the faltering Virginia coal industry.
For many years, the most valuable product from Virginia’s coal fields was coking or metallurgical coal that is exported to other countries for use in steel making.
China has been a crucial buyer of Virginia coal but recent pronouncements from the Communist Party leadership indicate that coal is on its way out after leader Xi Jinping outlined a far-reaching program that set a peak of carbon emissions in 2030 followed by net zero policy by 2060.
Correspondingly, steel companies are also setting net zero carbon goals including the world’s biggest steel makers ArcelorMittal of Europe, Baowu Steel of China and Nippon Steel of Japan.
The moves could erase Virginia’s coal experts because the demand for the steam coal used to generate electricity has already been undercut by the remarkable growth of renewable energy sources like solar and wind in China and India. As they expand, their costs go down – below those of coal.
Coking coal exports from Hampton Roads could get slammed as global steelmakers experiment with new manufacturing processes. Continue reading