INDIA’S CHANGING GOAL POSTS OVER COAL
SYLLABUS SECTION: GSIII (Economy)
WHY IN THE NEWS?
Recently, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has said lowering dependence on coal, and the speed with which India wants to get out of it would be challenging because of the Ukraine-Russia wars | INDIA’S CHANGING GOAL POSTS OVER COAL.
The carbon-intensive nature of coal and India’s excessive reliance on coal power has raised concerns about the Indian power sector’s contribution to global warming and climate change which have describing as reasons for the increasing frequency and intensity of natural calamities.
Externalities of Coal:
- About 80% of the world’s energy requirements are met by these three fuels: coal, natural gas, and oil.
- They are the main culprit for the climate crisis we are now facing, as they trigger the emission of carbon dioxide.
- The worst culprit of them all is coal.
- Coal emits nearly twice as much carbon dioxide as natural gas and about 60% more than oil, on a kilogramtokilogram comparison.
- Combusting coal also leaves behind partially burnt carbon particles that feed pollution and trigger respiratory disorders.
- The consequence of these chemical reactions gains great significance because,
INDIA’S DEPENDENCE ON COAL
- As of February 2022, the installed capacity for coal-based power generation across the country was 2.04 lakh megawatt (MW).
- This accounts for about 51.5% of power from all sources.
- Natural gas accounted for 25,000 MW or a mere 6.3% of all installed capacity.
- Renewable power accounted for 1.06 lakh MW or 27%.
- India adds on 6,765 MW power capacity based on coal as fuel in FY20 and only 2,335 MW was retire.
- The power sector in India accounts for 49% of total carbon dioxide emissions, compared with the global average of 41%.
- According to the IEA’s Coal Report 2021, India’s coal consumption will increase at an average annual rate of 3.9% to 1.18 billion tonnes in 2024.
- Domestic supply of coal is expected to be 154.7 MT, compared with the projected requirement of 197.3 MT
Challenges to India’s transition from coal:
- High Prices of Natural Gas:
- Natural gas has been dubbed as the transition fuel in India’s plans to move away from coal.
- The international cost of natural gas has zoomed in the recent past from a level that was considered already too high to be financially viable.
- Of the 25,000 MW of gas-based power plants, about 14,000 MW remains stranded, or idle, because they are financially unviable.
- Renewable Energy is not much reliable:
- Renewable energy sources are cheaper than coal, their ability to generate power consistently is subject to the whims of nature — the wind and the Sun.
- Storage technologies are still not mature enough to help renewable energy sources become reliable generators of power.
- Coal unlike renewable energy sources can give power on demand.
Coal Availability Crisis in India:
· The increased demand for power and the inability of domestic suppliers to meet the increased demand for coal has given rise to a coal availability crisis in India.
· The Power Ministry has urged States to step up coal imports.
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Source: The Hindu