Over-reliance on coal in our power mix hurting India
In spite of the renewables push, coal still accounts for about 50% of India’s installed power capacity. That means a simultaneous demand and supply shock, as happening now, can disrupt power generation.
The current shortage of coal is raising the spectre of long power outages. At a broader level, the crisis also underscores India’s overwhelming dependence on coal to meet its energy needs, the significant push towards renewables notwithstanding. As of September 2021, thermal power— power generated from burning coal, gas and petroleum—comprised 60% of India’s installed capacity in power generation. Coal alone accounted for nearly 50%. By comparison, renewable sources such as wind and solar energy and biomass accounted for 26%.