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Is King coal there to stay as India marries hydrocarbons and renewables in its energy mix?

India's coal production rises

Union Coal Minister Pralhad Joshi today said that India will be in a position to start exporting coal fuel by 2025-26. The minister also said that India now has adequate coal reserves.

“Except for coking coal, we will stop the (import of) thermal,” he said on the sidelines of the seventh round of auctions for commercial mining of coal blocks in the Capital.

Joshi noted that with 14  per cent increase, India’s coal production is expected to touch a record figure of 880 million tonne this financial year.

Coal, considered to be the single largest source of global carbon emissions, is back in demand across the globe as the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war has crippled energy supplies. With an unprecedented rise in global economic uncertainties, several countries including Germany, the European Union’s (EU) largest economy is also using coal based power generation. Incidentally, India had come under the scanner last year after the conclusion of the Conference of Paris (COP) 21 for altering the wording of the final deal to “phase down” instead of “phase out” coal.

In less than a year, the developed countries are now scrambling to resume coal based energy generation.

Last year, coal accounted for more than 33 per cent of electricity production in Germany.

However, India is also fiercely aiming to achieve energy security. As part of its overall plan it is pushing green energy as well.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has repeatedly emphasised the need to amplify the thrust on green growth by increasing production of renewable energy, reducing the use of fossil fuel, and finally, moving towards a gas-based economy. India is aggressively looking to achieve energy security amid rapidly changing geopolitical dynamics.

“India has been the fastest when it comes to renewable energy capacity addition among major economies since 2014,” Modi said while addressing the first post budget webinar last month.

The Prime Minister also added that India’s commanding position in the renewable energy space will ensure a commensurate change in the world.

Meanwhile, China has the largest number of operational coal power plants. India ranks second. Germany, the largest economy in the EU has 63, according to data collation portal Statista.

Also read: Coal India converts 30 mined out areas into eco-tourism hotspots