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Business News/ Industry / Energy/  India to add 80 GW coal-fuelled power generation capacity by 2031-32
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India to add 80 GW coal-fuelled power generation capacity by 2031-32

This dependence on coal comes amid India's ambitious renewable energy goals

India's power demand hit a new peak of 239.9 GW on 1 September, surpassing projections. (File Photo: Reuters)Premium
India's power demand hit a new peak of 239.9 GW on 1 September, surpassing projections. (File Photo: Reuters)

New Delhi: India is set to bolster its coal-powered generation capacity with plans to add at least 80 gigawatts (GW) by 2031-32, the power ministry has said in  a statement. This move underscores the nation's continued reliance on coal, despite growing emphasis on renewable energy.

During a review meeting held on Tuesday, Union power minister Raj Kumar Singh outlined the government's strategy, indicating that while 27 GW of the new capacity is already under construction, there is an initiative to develop an additional 55 to 60 GW.

India's power generation relies heavily on its coal reserves, the fourth-largest in the world, with coal-based power accounting for over half of the country's current capacity of 425.406 GW. The decision comes as India experiences surging power demand, which hit a new peak of 239.9 GW on 1 September, surpassing projections.

“…India needs 24x7 availability of power for its economic growth; and we are not going to compromise on availability of power for our growth. This power cannot be achieved by renewable energy sources alone. Since nuclear capacity cannot be added at a rapid pace, we have to add coal-based thermal capacity for meeting our energy needs," according to the statement which quoted Singh.

India is the second-largest coal producer in the world.

“Thermal energy was written off a few years ago, which was premature. Thermal cannot be written off until energy storage becomes viable. So, thermal is going to stay until energy storage becomes cost-effective for round-the-clock supply through renewable energy," Singh added.

This dependence on coal comes amid India's ambitious renewable energy goals, aiming to add 50 GW of green energy capacity annually to achieve 500 GW by 2030. Moreover, India's updated Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) to the United Nations Framework Convention for Climate Change commits to 50% of power capacity from non-fossil fuel sources by the end of this decade.

“The country absolutely needs at least 80,000 MW of capacity addition from today till 2031-32, which is essential to meet our base load requirements. Non-solar-hours are going to be a serious challenge, in light of growing power demand and considering weather events like what we faced in August this year," union power secretary Pankaj Agarwal said, according to the statement.

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Published: 22 Nov 2023, 07:09 PM IST
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