The paper presents selected issues related to the development of international coal markets. World consumption of coal dropped for the second year in a row in 2016, primarily due to the lower demand from China and the US. The share of coal in global primary energy consumption decreased to 28%. World coal production accounted to 3.66 billion toe and it was lower by 6.2% when compared to the previous year. More than 60% of this decline took place in China. The decline in global production was more than four times higher than the decrease in consumption. The sufficiency of the world resources of coal are estimated at 153 years – that is three times more than the sufficiency of oil and gas resources. After several years of decline, coal prices increased by 77% in 2016. The current spot prices are at the level of $80/ton and are close to the 2014 prices. In the European market, after the first half of the year, coal prices reached the level of around 66% higher than in the same period of the last year. The average price in the first half amounted to PLN 12.6/GJ, which is close to the 2012 prices. The share of spot trade in the total purchase amount accounted to approx. 20%. Prices in futures contracts can be estimated on the basis of the Japan-Australia contracts prices and prices in supplies to power plants located in Germany. On average, the prices in supplies to these power plants were higher by approximately 9% in the years 2010 – 2016 and prices in Australia – Japan contracts were 12% higher than CIF ARA prices in 2017. Global energy coal trade reached about 1.012 billion tons in 2016. A decline by 4.8% is expected in 2019 primarily due to the expected reduction in demand in major importing countries in Asia.
The sustainable management of energy production and consumption is one of the main challenges of the 21st century. This results from the threats to the natural environment, including the negative impact of the energy sector on the climate, the limited resources of fossil fuels, as well as the unstability of renewable energy sources – despite the development of technologies for obtaining energy from the: sun, wind, water, etc. In this situation, the efficiency of energy management, both on the micro (dispersed energy) and macro (power system) scale, may be improved by innovative technological solutions enabling energy storage. Their effective implementation enables energy storage during periods of overproduction and its use in the case of energy shortages. These challenges cannot be overestimated. Modern science needs to solve various technological issues in the field of storage, organizational problems of enterprises producing electricity and heat, or issues related to the functioning of energy markets. The article presents the specificity of the operation of a combined heat and power plant with a heat accumulator in the electricity market while taking the parameters affected by uncertainty into account. It was pointed out that the analysis of the risk associated with energy prices and weather conditions is an important element of the decision-making process and management of a heat and power plant equipped with a cold water heat accumulator. The complexity of the issues and the number of variables to be analyzed at a given time are the reason for the use of advanced forecasting methods. The stochastic modeling methods are considered as interesting tools that allow forecasting the operation of an installation with a heat accumulator while taking the influence of numerous variables into account. The analysis has shown that the combined use of Monte Carlo simulations and forecasting using the geometric Brownian motion enables the quantification of the risk of the CHP plant’s operation and the impact of using the energy store on solving uncertainties. The applied methodology can be used at the design stage of systems with energy storage and enables carrying out the risk analysis in the already existing systems; this will allow their efficiency to be improved. The introduction of additional parameters of the planned investments to the analysis will allow the maximum use of energy storage systems in both industrial and dispersed power generation.