Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Help Support EcoWatch

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

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

Atlantic puffins courting at Maine Coastal Island National Wildlife Refuge in 2009. USFWS / Flickr

When Europeans first arrived in North America, Atlantic puffins were common on islands in the Gulf of Maine. But hunters killed many of the birds for food or for feathers to adorn ladies' hats. By the 1800s, the population in Maine had plummeted.

Read More Show Less
Rescue workers dig through the rubble following a gas explosion in Baltimore, Maryland on Aug. 10, 2020. J. Countess / Getty Images

A "major" natural gas explosion killed two people and seriously injured at least seven in Baltimore, Maryland Monday morning.

Read More Show Less
The recalled list includes red, yellow, white and sweet yellow onions, which may be tainted with salmonella. Pxhere

Nearly 900 people across the U.S. and Canada have been sickened by salmonella linked to onions distributed by Thomson International, the The New York Times reported.

Read More Show Less
Methane flares at a fracking site near a home in Colorado on Oct. 25, 2014. WildEarth Guardians / Flickr

In the coming days, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is expected to use its power to roll back yet another Obama-era environmental protection meant to curb air pollution and slow the climate crisis.

Read More Show Less
Researchers on the ICESCAPE mission, funded by NASA, examine melt ponds and their surrounding ice in 2011 to see how changing conditions in the Arctic affect the biological and chemical makeup of the ocean. NASA / Flickr

By Alex Kirby

The temperature of the Arctic matters to the entire world: it helps to keep the global climate fairly cool. Scientists now say that by 2035 there could be an end to Arctic sea ice.

Read More Show Less
President Vladimir Putin is seen enjoying the Opening Ceremony of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. Pascal Le Segretain / Getty Images

Russia's Health Ministry has given regulatory approval for the world's first COVID-19 vaccine after less than two months of human testing, President Vladimir Putin said on Tuesday.

Read More Show Less

Trending

A John Deere agricultural tractor sits under a collapsed building following a derecho storm on Aug. 10, 2020 near Franklin Grove, Illinois. Daniel Acker / Getty Images

A powerful series of thunderstorms roared across the Midwest on Monday, downing trees, damaging structures and knocking out power to more than a million people.

Read More Show Less