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UK coal sector's performance in 2015 falls short of prior year's levels

The U.K.'scoal industry did not fare as well in 2015 as it did the prior year, withproduction falling to record lows, according to the Energy Trends and EnergyPrices publications released March 31 by the U.K. Department of Energy andClimate Change.

The country'stotal energy production surged 9.5% over last year's numbers but coal, whichaccounted for 22.6% of the electricity generated in 2015, fell 7.1% from 2014levels, attributable to plant closures and conversions, the report said.

Coalconsumption dropped 23% between 2014 and 2015 since less coal was used inelectricity generation. Coal production for 2015 fell 27% from 2014 levels,reaching a record low of 8.5 million tonnes, the report said. Both deep minedproduction and surface mine production reached record lows at 2.8 milliontonnes and 5.7 million tonnes, down 24% and 28% respectively.

This wasdue to a number of collieries and companies shutting down and other minesproducing less coal as they near the end of their life cycle, the report said.The DECC noted that the closure of Hatfield and Thoresby collieries in July2015 as well as the December 2015 closure of Kellingley, the largest deep mineoperational, attributed to the poor performance.

Coalimports were at 25.5 million tonnes in 2015 as a whole, down 39% from 2014levels due to lower demand. The total demand for coal in 2015 was at 37.9million tonnes, down 22% from the prior year, with consumption by electricitygenerators down by 24% or 9.1 million tonnes, the report said.

Accordingto the DECC, U.K.'s 2015 CO2 emissions dropped 4% from 2014 levels with theenergy supply sector experiencing the largest reduction in CO2 emissions,attributable to the use of less coal and more nuclear and renewables.