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Coal Power Here To Stay In India

October 6, 2015

By Paul Homewood 




From PEI:


By Tildy Bayar

India’s energy minister has said coal-fired power will continue to be a “mainstay” of his country’s generation mix, and that environmental issues will not be compromised.



In a speech ahead of India’s announcement of its climate pledge to the UN, due this week from all countries that will participate in the Paris climate talks in December, Piyush Goyal (pictured) said the nation will “largely” feature modern, efficient coal-fired power plants by 2030, and that emissions from these plants can be kept low with the use of “innovative technologies”.

He said the state-owned mining firm Coal India Ltd will produce 1 bn tonnes of coal by 2020, and that the government is committed to setting up washeries “on a massive scale” to wash 250 mt of coal in the next three years.

He added that the government now uses third-party sampling to check coal quality, with “not a single complaint … from any state or power plant” over the previous year. He also promised that the coal ministry will “ask the coal controller to reassess the grades of all coal mines”.

According to Goyal, the coal ministry is currently working on a policy framework to liberalize coal linkages with infrastructure firms in order to bring down power costs. More accurate coal grading and permission for intra-company linkages will generate significant savings for India’s power consumers, he said. 



It needs to be pointed out that when he talks of “keeping emissions low”, he is not talking of CO2, but of real pollutants such as sulphur, mercury and nitrogen.

The fact that India is investing heavily in constructing a new generation of clean coal-fired plants is surely the strongest evidence that CO2 emissions will be cut there after 2030. Would they really spend untold billions just to shut the plants down after a few years of operation?


To put into perspective the target to produce 1 billion tonnes of coal a year by 2020, output in India last year was 644 million tonnes, according to the BP Energy Review.


(BTW –  Coal India is not the sole producer of coal in India – 2014 production was 462 million tonnes – we can therefore project that total Indian coal output could rise to 1182 million tonnes by 2020).

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