India’s domestic coal mining has been steadily increasing. Jharia coal mine, Jharkhand state, India. (Photo: TripodStories-AB)
By Aditi Roy Ghatak
Published on 26/07/2017, 12:39am
India’s future is still tied to coal and fixing woeful inefficiency of plants will create huge new generation at a price solar cannot match
Those ready to crown solar energy as the victor in the race to electrify India, attend. More efficient coal plants will hugely undercut renewable energy prices in the coming years, creating vast new demand for the most-polluting fossil fuel, a former chairman of Coal India has said.
International interest in Indian coal has been fierce ever since the realisation that the nation’s reliance on coal-driven energy infrastructure and its unacceptable emissions would make nonsense of the international determination to bring greenhouse gas emissions under control.
The target of avoiding 1.5C of mean global warming shall go awry unless India finds another, cleaner way to provide power to at least 500 million people who have zero to scant access to energy (304 million without any at all) in a developing country of 1.2 billion.
Because of this, the plunging price of solar power and the news that India’s electricity authority sees no need for new coal plants until at least 2027 has generated excited headlines. “India, Once a Coal Goliath, Is Fast Turning Green,” said the New York Times last month.
In an interview with Climate Home, the former chair of the state-owned coal monopoly Partha Bhattacharya, a serious thinker in the energy space, agreed that solar has emerged as a major competitor to those wanting to build new coal plants.