New Delhi: On the road to energy transition, even as India moves towards a policy that envisages increasing the share of renewable energy (RE) gradually, India will need an integrated energy policy with a balanced approach towards all forms of fuel, said Coal Secretary Anil Kumar Jain. He added that with the advent of new technologies like coal gasification, coal can have a number of alternate uses in the future other than power generation. The Coal Secretary was speaking at the launch of a book titled, Future of Coal in India: Smooth Transition or Bumpy Road Ahead?, published by Brookings India.
While pointing out that coal is deeply intertwined into the country's economy not just as a source of employment, but also as a source of revenue for the Central and state governments and the Railways, the Coal Secretary said that shunning coal would also require the government to find alternative sources of revenue. Coal powers around 3/4th of the country's power generation and accounts for half of the total energy consumed in the country. According to official estimates, India will need 892 million tonnes (MT) of the fossil fuel in FY30 — around 40 percent higher than the current levels — for power generation.
Rahul Tongia, who leads energy and sustainability studies for Brookings India, said, "Renewable energy growth has been strong but won't be enough to avoid more coal." "India's focus should be on cleaning up coal, instead of wishing it away," he added. Even as the government is taking dedicated steps to push RE installed capacity in the country, the intermittent and limited hours of power supply from RE make it an expensive deal for state-owned discoms who need to spend more on backup.
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