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Coal declining but still king of Indian energy

January 20, 2021

Green Tech Media:

Despite market turbulence brought by the coronavirus pandemic, 2020 proved to be a formative year for India’s clean energy transition.

Solar prices hit record lows, definitively ousting coal as the cheapest source of electricity. The government held creative auctions designed to facilitate adding greater amounts of intermittent renewables on the grid. And Prime Minister Narendra Modi reaffirmed India’s commitment to reaching its bold renewable energy targets, claiming the country will ultimately exceed its Paris climate goals.

But the growing adoption of solar, wind and other clean energy technologies doesn’t tell the full story of India’s energy shift. It is impossible to ignore the role of coal.

“Currently, there’s not enough demand, so a lot of these plants are not operating at their full capacity or at very low PLFs. There are some plants where they are struggling with the availability of coal,” said Vibhuti Garg, energy economist with IEEFA, in an interview last year. “But as economic growth picks up and demand for electricity picks up, while we are adding more and more renewables, there is a highly likely chance that this existing coal capacity will be ramped up and that will contribute to more emissions.” 

[Julia Pyper]

More: How Long Will Coal Remain King in India?

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