A whopping 74 per cent of India’s electricity generation comes from coal-fired power plants, and coal use in the country continues to increase, but we may be seeing the beginning of the end of coal’s rein as renewable energy investments have begun to outpace those in fossil fuels.
According to the International Energy Agency, India’s move towards spending on renewables has been driven both by policy and by the rapidly falling costs of bringing solar power online. For the past three years in a row India has seen greater total investments in renewables than in fossil fuels, the report shows, while spending on solar energy overtook spending on coal-fired power generation for the first time in 2018.
Despite its growing use of coal and increasing demands, the country appears to remain on track to meet its obligations under the Paris climate agreement, in which it pledged to bring 175 gigawatts of renewable energy online by 2022. So far the country has installed over 77GW – double its renewables capacity of four years ago – and has signed off a further 60GW for construction.
Meanwhile, India’s new coal power generation has dropped from roughly 20 gigawatts of additional capacity being added each year to less than 10 gigawatts added in each of the last three years, Sameer Kwatra, a climate change and energy policy analyst with the Natural Resources Defense Council told Inside Climate News.
The slow move away from coal in India fits with global trends in investment in fossil fuels which have tumbled over the last three years.