New Delhi: While stressing that new thermal power plants (TPPs) are not on the horizon for India, Coal Secretary Anil Kumar Jain has asserted that coal will still be relevant for India as higher Plant Load Factor (PLF) of existing thermal power plants will continue to meet the growth in power demand. As the share of renewable energy (RE) grows in India's energy mix, the share of coal in India's power sector will reduce but the prospects of coal being used as solid fuel in industries other than power is "bullish," said the Coal Secretary.
Speaking at the 5th IEA-IEF-OPEC Symposium on Gas and Coal Market Outlooks on April 28, Jain said that coal demand may rise but at a tepid rate. "But the scenario of use as solid fuel is bullish," said the Secretary. He added, "Around 70 percent of coal in India is used by the power industry and 30 percent goes into various other industries. Renewables are catering to the electricity sector and will continue to grow its share in the sector and dent the share of coal. But sectors which use coal as solid fuel are poised to grow. And in these sectors, the technologies are coal dominated. And until new technologies that rely on electricity enter these sectors, renewables will not make a debut in those sectors."
Pointing out that India's per capita consumption of electricity is low, Jain said that the demand for electricity is poised to keep growing. "We need new sources, be it renewable, coal, nuclear, to fuel our rising power demand. Power demand has risen at CAGR of 4.6 percent in India and is poised to grow further. And that is where coal is poised to play its role until renewables take over in size and scale," said Jain. He added that to meet the growing demand, renewable energy and thermal power plants will cooperate and not compete with each other.
"India not only needs to substitute its sources of power generation with clean fuels but also needs to add more power generation to meet the demand," said Jain.