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Current Affairs

India moving away from coal

Date: 26 April 2022 Tags: Energy

Issue

To ensure adequate supply of coal to power stations of Tamil Nadu, the Chief Minister of the state wrote a letter to the Prime Minister.

 

Background

Coal shortage has forced many power consuming states to import. Maharashtra and Gujarat have already planned to import.

 

Details

  • Coal stocks have fallen below the critical mark of 25% across many thermal power stations in the country.

  • The coal ministry however said that 72.5 million tonnes of coal was available in the country, which can last over a month.

 

Coal shortages

  • About 55% of the country’s energy needs are fulfilled by coal. The use of coal has doubled since 2000.

  • The disruptions due to pandemic caused supply shortages. It was accentuated due to stoppage in mining activities as a result of monsoon.

  • The summer months have created demand for power in households. Economic activity has also suddenly picked up, causing demands-supply mismatch.

  • The demand is expected to grow further as urbanization and population increases. By 2040, demand will grow by 5%.

 

Coal consumption in India

  • Coal powered thermal plants are most viable energy producer due to lower capital costs as compared to hydro-power and nuclear power.

  • It is also a most preferred option for private sector companies involved in power generation business.

 

Renewable energy resources in India

  • By 2029-30, it is estimated that the share of renewable energy in the gross electricity generation will be around 40%.

  • Total renewable energy capacity installed in the country is 152.9 GW. Out of this, solar energy is the biggest constituent.

 

Challenges

  • Capacity of plant does not translate into actual power for the grid. Heat loss or transmission loss causes losses.

  • They also suffer from variability due to season and weather. Solar energy is not feasible during monsoons.

  • Solar and wind energy are not suitable for all regions of the country. In some states, they are in abundance but in other they are not.

 

Renewable energy adoption

The condition and working of grids are suitable for thermal power stations and not erratic solar and wind energy.