This comes after India making huge strides in ramping up renewable energy capacity and improving energy efficiency through various policy initiatives
New Delhi: The Economic Survey 2018-2019 tabled in Parliament on Thursday said India would continue its reliance on fossil fuels, especially, coal in the coming future for meeting its energy requirements.
This comes after India making huge strides in ramping up renewable energy capacity and improving energy efficiency through various policy initiatives.
“While there has been a tremendous increase in renewable energy capacity, fossil fuels, especially coal, would continue to remain an important source of energy,” the Survey said.
The Economic Survey added that it may not be advisable to completely abandon coal-based power plants without complete utilisation of their lifetimes, as it would lead to stranded assets that can have adverse impact on the banking sector.
Almost 60 per cent of India’s installed capacity is in thermal power out of which the main component is the coal-based thermal power plants. India’s Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) under the Paris Agreement states that India would achieve 40 per cent installed capacity of power from non-fossil fuels by 2030.
“Further, considering the intermittency of renewable power supply, unless sufficient technological breakthrough in energy storage happens in the near future, it is unlikely that thermal power can be easily replaced as the main source of energy for a growing economy such as India,” the Survey said.
The Survey maintained that base load power would still have to be provided by thermal power plants, however, keeping in mind the sustainable energy objectives of the country there is a need of building capacity for cleaner and more efficient coal technologies.
The Survey suggests that a comprehensive energy policy should take into consideration the economies of both coal and renewables as they are interdependent. As are substitutes for each other as a source of energy but are also complementary in keeping the flow to the grid stable as coal generation represents a stable source of power while renewable energy may be variable.
According to a recent report by the Central Electricity Authority (CEA) coal would continue to account for half of India’s electricity generation in 2030, despite an increase in solar and wind projects.
The assessment, released earlier this week, highlighted that the nation has a large existing fleet of coal plants and that there’s a mismatch between peak periods of demand and output from renewables, leaving a big role for coal in the nation’s future electricity mix.
The CEA’s analysis shows that India may be able to exceed one of its 2015 Paris Agreement commitments — reaching 40 per cent of installed capacity from non-fossil fuel sources.
India imported 235.2 million tonne (MT) of coal in 2018-19 valued at Rs 1.7 lakh crore, as compared to 208.2 MT of coal worth Rs 1.3 lakh crore.
The total estimated coal resources in the country is approximately 319.02 billion tonne. Every year about 3 billion tonne to 5 billion tonne of proved resources were being added through fresh exploration of the coal inventory in India.