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June 13, 2024

India Aims for Higher Domestic Coal Production and Reduced Imports

India is intensifying efforts to boost domestic coal production while reducing reliance on coal imports, according to federal coal minister G. Kishan Reddy. As the world’s second-largest consumer of coal, India is making strategic moves to ensure energy security and support its growing power demands. This shift comes amid a backdrop of global pressure to curb the use of fossil fuels and a national commitment to transitioning towards cleaner energy.

Reducing Coal Imports

In 2023, India imported a staggering 176 million tons of thermal coal, according to a Reuters report. This figure highlights the country’s significant dependence on imported coal to meet its energy needs. However, India is now targeting a reduction in these imports. Rajat Handa, vice president of international trade at Agarwal Coal, indicated that coal imports are expected to not exceed 160 million tons in 2024. This anticipated reduction marks a deliberate effort by India to enhance self-sufficiency in coal production.

Boosting Domestic Coal Production

Minister Reddy’s announcement underscores India’s strategy to ramp up domestic coal production. While he did not provide specific details, the overarching goal is clear: to reduce the nation’s reliance on imported coal. This move aligns with India’s broader energy strategy to bolster its domestic coal output, ensuring a more reliable and sustainable energy supply.

Power Demand and Energy Security

India’s reliance on coal is driven by its escalating power demand. The country anticipates its power generation to grow at the fastest pace since at least the 2011/12 fiscal year. Coal remains a critical component of India’s energy mix, playing a vital role in ensuring energy security for its population of over 1.4 billion people.

Balancing Coal Use and Green Energy Transition

Despite its reliance on coal, India is simultaneously pursuing an ambitious green energy transition. Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s administration has been vocal about its commitment to reducing the growth of coal-based power capacity. This strategy is part of India’s broader aim to achieve net zero emissions by 2070. By slowing down the expansion of coal-based power plants, the government is signaling its dedication to environmental sustainability.

New Coal Power Plants Amid Transition

While India faces mounting pressure from developed economies to curtail its coal use, the country is still planning to establish new coal power plants. These plants are slated to begin operations in the next four years, reflecting a pragmatic approach to balancing immediate energy needs with long-term environmental goals. The establishment of these new plants indicates that while India is committed to its green energy transition, it acknowledges the current necessity of coal in its energy portfolio.

Conclusion

India’s strategy to increase domestic coal production while reducing imports is a multifaceted approach aimed at securing energy independence and supporting economic growth. Minister G. Kishan Reddy’s recent announcement highlights the country’s proactive steps to manage its energy resources more effectively. At the same time, Prime Minister Modi’s administration continues to emphasize the importance of transitioning to green energy, striving to meet the nation’s net zero emission targets by 2070. As India navigates this complex energy landscape, its policies will likely serve as a model for balancing economic development with environmental stewardship.

Read more latest news on R9 News

Jhumpa Lahiri

Jhumpa Lahiri

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