India to cut coal-based electricity generation by as much as 10 percent
BYLINE: By PETER RABATANDERAND/Associated PressWith more than 60 million coal-fired power plants operating across India, it is no surprise that coal-burning is one of the most profitable sectors of the country’s economy.
However, a recent report by the Indian Energy Resources Development Agency (IERA) indicates that the country may have to reduce coal-fueled electricity generation to less than 10 percent of total power production to meet the countrys energy demands.
While the IERA report did not provide any specific details, it pointed to an increase in coal-powered electricity generation as a major driver behind India’s coal-dependent energy picture.
According to IERA, in 2019, the number of coal-burned power plants fell by 4.7 percent to 8,072 units, or 1,739 gigawatts.
The coal-related power sector accounted for 10.7% of total Indian electricity consumption, according to IETA.
The report points out that the decline in coal power generation is primarily due to a sharp increase in power generation from renewable energy sources, which the IETA said were now “a majority of the power generation”.
The decline in power-generation from renewables was due to the rising cost of energy and the decline of coal plants, according the IEA.
While coal is the main fuel for the country, other sources of energy such as natural gas and renewable energy are also in demand.
According the IRA report, India’s electricity demand grew by 1.3 percent in 2019 and 1.6 percent in 2020 compared to the previous year.
Power generation from natural gas, the country “second-largest fuel” after coal, grew by 0.3% and renewable power by 0,3 percent, according IERA.
Despite the IESA report, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who was inaugurated in the capital, New Delhi on March 1, has not indicated that he intends to scrap the coal-power plants.
Instead, he has focused on the development of renewable energy as a way to boost India’s renewable energy sector, and has promised to create 10 million jobs.