Quantcast

World's Largest Coal Miner Says It's a 'Matter of Time' for Renewables to Replace Coal

Energy
Jharia coal mine. Wikimedia Commons

Even the world's largest coal miner thinks the rise of renewable energy and storage technology will pose a "significant threat" to the coal sector.

Coal India, the state-owned mining company that produces 80 percent of the country's coal, has released a new report, "Coal Vision 2030," that outlines what the industry might look like in 2030.


It warns stakeholders that in the case of Indian coal, "trends portent that in the long run the demand is likely to decrease substantially."

"With the increasing threat of climate change impacting humanity (irrespective of the U.S. position) and the global funding focus on renewables, it is a matter of time when alternate clean energy would displace coal," the report states.

Coal India's analysis lists a number of global and domestic events that have intensified doubts on the future of its main product, including:

  • Developments in solar PV and energy storage technologies
  • COP21 commitments by India
  • Apparent shrinkage in global coal consumption
  • Apparent downward revision of the economic growth projections of India
  • Response to recent tranches of coal block auctions
  • Non-performing assets (NPA) crises, especially in the iron and steel, and power sectors, two major consumers of coal and important sectors linked to economic growth
  • Changes in various policies pertaining to the domestic energy sector

While coal remains India's main source of fuel, the report notes, "standing in the midst of a change, it is very difficult for anyone to imagine its scale and often most people remain in a state of denial until the change is upon them."

Coal Vision 2030

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has promised to get 40 percent of India's electricity from non-fossil sources (which includes renewables, nuclear and large hydropower) by 2030. The Indian government aims to triple its renewable energy capacity to reach 175 gigawatts by 2022. India's Central Electricity Authority will also halt building new coal plants in 2022.

However, the Coal Vision 2030 report suggests that India's future will remain tied to coal. Interestingly, even though the report says renewables and storage will likely emerge as "key substitutes" to coal, Coal India still expects demand for the fuel to roughly double to 1,300-1,900 million tonnes in 2030.

"The messages are extremely contradictory," Swati D'Souza, energy policy expert at India's energy think-tank, Energy and Resources Institute (TERI), told Climate Home News. "The [coal demand] numbers are very high given current trends on solar and wind penetration in the power sector … The document does not really give clarity on how they arrived at these numbers."

Ted Nace, director of CoalSwarm, which tracks existing and proposed coal plants worldwide, added that 1,900 million tonnes is "an absurd figure for coal demand in 2030."

"Finance has completely dried up for privately sponsored coal plants; the only ones moving forward at this point are government-owned," Nace continued. "Without significant growth in coal power capacity there will not be the doubling or tripling of coal demand that this report talks about."

Coal India did not respond to Climate Home News' questions about the report's projections.

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Record flood water levels in Venice hit again on Sunday making this the worst week of flooding in the city in over 50 years.

Read More Show Less

By Brian Barth

Late fall, after the last crops have been harvested, is a time to rest and reflect on the successes and challenges of the gardening year. But for those whose need to putter around in the garden doesn't end when cold weather comes, there's surely a few lingering chores. Get them done now and you'll be ahead of the game in spring.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
(L) Selma Three Stone Engagement Ring. (R) The Greener Diamond Farm Project. MiaDonna

By Bailey Hopp

If you had to choose a diamond for your engagement ring from below or above the ground, which would you pick … and why would you pick it? This is the main question consumers are facing when picking out their diamond engagement ring today. With a dramatic increase in demand for conflict-free lab-grown diamonds, the diamond industry is shifting right before our eyes.

Read More Show Less
(L) 3D graphical representation of a spherical-shaped, measles virus particle that is studded with glycoprotein tubercles.
(R) The measles virus pictured under a microscope. PHIL / CDC

The Pacific Island nation of Samoa declared a state of emergency this week, closed all of its schools and limited the number of public gatherings allowed after a measles outbreak has swept across the country of just 200,000 people, according to Reuters.

Read More Show Less
Austin Nuñez is Chairman of the Tohono O'odham Nation, which joined with the Hopi and Pascua Yaqui Tribes to fight a proposed open-pit copper mine on sacred sites in Arizona. Mamta Popat

By Alison Cagle

Rising above the Arizona desert, the Santa Rita Mountains cradle 10,000 years of Indigenous history. The Tohono O'odham Nation, Pascua Yaqui Tribe, and Hopi Tribe, among numerous other tribes, have worshipped, foraged, hunted and laid their ancestors to rest in the mountains for generations.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
The Navajo Nation has suffered from limited freshwater resources as a result of climate, insufficient infrastructure, and contamination. They collaborated with NASA to develop the Drought Severity Evaluation Tool. NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

Native Americans are disproportionately without access to clean water, according to a new report, "Closing the Water Access Gap in the United States: A National Action Plan," to be released this afternoon, which shows that more than two million Americans do not have access to access to running water, indoor plumbing or wastewater services.

Read More Show Less
Wild Exmoor ponies graze on a meadow in the Czech Republic. rapier / iStock / Getty Images Plus

By Nanticha Ocharoenchai

In the Czech Republic, horses have become the knights in shining armor. A study published in the Journal for Nature Conservation suggests that returning feral horses to grasslands in Podyjí National Park could help boost the numbers of several threatened butterfly species.

Read More Show Less

Despite huge strides in improving the lives of children since 1989, many of the world's poorest are being left behind, the United Nations children's fund UNICEF warned Monday.

Read More Show Less