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India Opens 52 New Coal Mines To Achieve Universal Electrification

February 6, 2019

By Paul Homewood



India has stepped up the opening of new coal mines since Narendra Modi took over.

From the Times of India:



NEW DELHI: The Narendra Modi government has opened 52 new coal mines since coming to power in May 2014 to fuel its flagship village and household electrification programmes without tripping the system, officials told TOI.

These 52 mines represent 86% growth over the number of mines added in the five-year period between 2009 and 2014, when most projects were stuck in red tape, especially pertaining to environment and forest clearances, before the NDA government took over.

The officials said structural reforms in the government’s functioning since 2014 made it possible to quickly open such a large number of coal mines, a cumbersome process involving approvals and permissions from various statutory authorities.

image (3)

The new mines have added 164 MT (million tonne) to India’s annual coal production capacity, marking 113% increase over capacity added during the 2009-2014 period. Since 57% of power is generated in India by burning coal, these mines allowed the government to rapidly move towards universal electricity access without creating shortages.

Coal production in 2017 amounted to 716 Mt, so the addition of 164 Mt new capacity is clearly a very significant proportion.


Meanwhile, figures from India’s Central Electricity Authority show that coal consumption for power generation continues its remorseless rise:




Part way through this financial year, thermal generation (which is nearly all coal) is up 4.94%, (38 TWh.), compared to a rise of 19 TWh for non-hydro renewables:





As we have seen with China, wind and solar simply cannot keep pace with increased demand.

  1. February 6, 2019 7:05 pm

    There’s on-demand power and then there’s greencr@p. Real people on the ground soon work out which is best.

  2. February 6, 2019 7:36 pm

    Sadly India will still have its air pollution problem, not from coal-burning as wailing greens will say, but from biomass burning and vehicle exhausts:

    They still lack enough natural gas for heating/cooking, a case study of what could happen in Europe if “greens” get their way.

    • February 7, 2019 6:47 am

      Will the Greenblob stop the vast amount of shale gas that now appears to be within our grasp?

      The company, based in nearby Bamber Bridge, said that the drilling, hydraulic fracturing and flow testing of the first horizontal well confirms that there is a rich reservoir of recoverable high quality natural gas present.

      Chief Executive Officer Francis Egan said “We have also confirmed that the Bowland shale formation fractures in a way that, from US experience, is typical of an excellent shale gas reservoir. A complex fracture network was generated in the shale and sand injected into the fractures has stayed in place during flow back. Also the natural gas flowing to surface from the shale has a very high methane content, which means it could be delivered into the local gas grid for the benefit of local consumers with minimal processing required.”

      Cuadrilla estimates that, when compared to a typical North American 2.5km long producing horizontal shale gas well, with all of its stages fractured as planned, the data indicates a potential initial flow rate range of between 3million and 8million standard cubic feet per day.

      “This is a highly encouraging result and great news for the UK which continues to import gas in ever increasing quantities by ship and long distance pipeline and has seen record demand for gas during the recent cold weather. The natural gas beneath Preston New Road could help secure our domestic gas supply and flow directly into the local grid, reducing CO2 emissions associated with importing LNG in tankers from around the world, including shale gas from the US, or piping gas to the UK over thousands of miles.”

      • dave permalink
        February 7, 2019 4:15 pm

        “…shale gas…”

        It seems to me that those involved are deliberately – and sensibly – downplaying the potential. They are probably waiting for such an energy crisis in the UK that a free hand will be allowed them.

        I am reminded of an interview I once saw with the CEO of an Indian tech giant in Bangalore. Asked to what he attributed their success he said, “The Government did not notice our existence until it was too late to ruin us; and in any case they could not find Bangalore on the map!”

  3. markl permalink
    February 6, 2019 8:52 pm

    Fossil fuels will continue to be used until they are no longer practical. Those countries that choose not to use them will fall behind in all the measures of modern society. It won’t take long for the people to revolt against being forced to downgrade their lifestyle while watching other countries using fossil fuels prosper. It’s happening today…… as in India.

  4. February 6, 2019 9:03 pm

    What are these crazy units (1st graph)?

  5. Gamecock permalink
    February 7, 2019 12:08 am

    Good for India!

    The mid-1930s Rural Electrification Act transformed America. I hope India will have the same success!

  6. John F. Hultquist permalink
    February 7, 2019 12:14 am

    power generation continues its remorseless rise:

    I’d write that as though this is a good thing; perhaps “power generation continues its exhilarating rise for the well being of the population.”

    • dave permalink
      February 7, 2019 7:25 am

      Annual coal consumption of India for electricity in most recent year – 608 million tonnes and doubled in a decade. For the UK, total annual coal consumption for the most recent year – 15 million tonnes. Why do the wankerati even give a moment’s thought to the pathetic little trace of usage in the UK? On the grounds that every little bit helps? No, it does not! Not with India and China in the game.

      • jack broughton permalink
        February 7, 2019 7:25 pm

        At our peak coal usage the mining was about 100m tonnes/year. A drop in the ocean yet still the most economical power source. Who is responsible now for planning future power security in the UK? The old CEGB had that responsibility many years ago, but who has it now?

      • dave permalink
        February 8, 2019 9:50 am

        “…the mining was about 100m tonnes/year…”

        Actually, it was 292 million tonnes a year in 1913. The mining (all open cast) was 3 million tonnes in 2017.

  7. Robin Guenier permalink
    February 7, 2019 8:08 am

    Paul: how do you access the yearly coal consumption data? If I click on your CEA executive summary link, I can only find details for November and December 2018?

    • February 7, 2019 10:26 am

      Click on the Dec 2018 one, and it opens up a pdf.

      Coal is on page 31

      • Robin Guenier permalink
        February 7, 2019 11:24 am

        Thanks – R

    • dave permalink
      February 7, 2019 9:21 am

      “…the propaganda assault continues.”

      Did you seriously expect it to stop? Or even to slow down? There is at least another twenty years of nonsense to come.

  8. Coeur de Lion permalink
    February 7, 2019 9:27 am

    And still the Synod of the Church of England wants to disinvest in fossil fuels. Do they understand about deaths from biomass cooking inhalation? Are they just THICK?

    • Gamecock permalink
      February 8, 2019 12:21 am

      All the divestment freaks are thick. They don’t understand that the companies couldn’t care less who owns their stock. If CoE sells it’s stock to Connie Herrara, the company doesn’t care.

  9. Vernon E permalink
    February 7, 2019 11:08 am

    Phillip Bratby: oh dear, oh dear, how wrong can you be. In today’s Telegraph Silly Jilly reports Cuadrilla’s first release of testing data for its Preston New Road site. The well flowed 100 MCFD – terrible but admittedly with a restrained frack. A viable US Marcellus shale flows about 600 MCFD. Jilly quotes Francis Egan, Cuadrilla CEO, as saying that if seismic restraints were relaxed he expected 3m to 8m cfd. If the “m” refers to millions that is pure fantasy. If it refers to thousands there is no way that production will be commercialy viable . As I have posted on numerous occasions permeability is paramount and its not looking good so far. Coal anyone?

  10. dennisambler permalink
    February 7, 2019 3:12 pm

    A lot more is needed for full electrication. Modi has a curious way of defining when a community is “electrified”. It is when 10% of the residents have access. Poles may be there but not all homes have supplies.

    Narendra Modi:
    “28th April 2018 will be remembered as a historic day in the development journey of India. Yesterday, we fulfilled a commitment due to which the lives of several Indians will be transformed forever! I am delighted that every single village of India now has access to electricity.”

    Forbes report:
    “No doubt a massive accomplishment, but a closer look at what constitutes “electrified” reveals how much further India has to go. According to official data, only 1,417 of India’s 18,452 villages, or 7.3% of the total, have 100% household connectivity, and about 31 million homes are still in the dark. The government deems a village “electrified” if power cables from the grid reach a transformer in each village and 10% of its households, as well as public places such as schools and health centers, are connected.”

    • jack broughton permalink
      February 7, 2019 7:30 pm

      There is a fascinating “underground” system in India where many people “steal” electricity by throwing connections onto the overhead lines to power their homes. There are many great photos of these networks that are taken down when the inspectors visit. So, power is actually more available than the official figures show, but still a long way to go and a lot more coal to be burned!

  11. February 8, 2019 1:47 pm

    Reblogged this on ajmarciniak.

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