India to consider stopping new coal plant construction
India is reviewing a proposal to stop new coal-fired capacity construction under a plan to meet its climate pledges, Indian outlet the Economic Times reported on Wednesday, quoting sources familiar with the matter.
As part of its pledges during the COP26 climate summit last month, India – where coal currently accounts for around 70% of electricity generation – committed to net-zero emissions by 2070, and 500 gigawatts of installed renewable energy capacity by 2030.
In late October, an expert committee appointed by the power ministry submitted new recommendations for amending India’s National Electricity Policy and recommended that the country not consider new coal-fired capacity. The report of the committee is still under consideration, a senior government official told the Economic Times.
The recommendations include replacing old coal plants with new ones only when it is “convincingly established that it is not viable to meet the projected demand from alternate non-fossil fuel sources,” one of the recommendations says, a source with knowledge of the details told the Indian outlet.
A proposal for halting new coal capacity is a U-turn from India’s previously adopted national electricity policy strategies, which have stated that coal is a cheap source of electricity and should not be discarded.
India, however, is not expected to kick its coal addiction any time soon.
Global coal demand is set for records this year and next, despite various net-zero pledges, the International Energy Agency (IEA) said last week.
Based on current trends, global coal demand is set to rise to 8025 Mt in 2022, the highest level ever seen, and to remain there through 2024, the IEA said in its annual Coal 2021 report released on Friday.
Over the next two years, global coal demand could even see new record highs as emerging markets led by China and India will lead consumption growth which is set to outpace declines in developed economies, according to the IEA. In India, stronger economic growth and increasing electrification are forecast to drive coal demand growth of 4% annually through 2024, the agency noted.
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