India is the world’s second biggest greenhouse gas emitter and although it is striving to move towards cleaner technologies, the country’s dependence on coal as its main source to meet its electricity demands cannot be avoided. Coal is found in India in abundant quantities and has a cost advantage that makes it difficult to replace at least for the next 30 years or so.
Given that coal will continue to play a prominent role in the country’s future, Global Coal Trade Association has said that India needs to make more efforts to attract foreign investment in technologies that will help reduce emissions from burning coal.
“India needs to step up and say we need support here,” Benjamin Sporton, chief executive at World Coal Association, told reporters in New Delhi. He also added that India’s demand for coal imports saw an increase after falling for two years and it needs to ask for financial assistance.
“We would like to see the government potentially say, ‘Look coal is going to be an important part of the economy for decades, and we need support to be reasonably self-sufficient but also to get support for low emission coal technology that we need to use,’” Sporton said.
India is taking steps to move towards “clean coal” for which it is seeking foreign funds. Clean coal can cut greenhouse gases emitted from burning coal by up to 30 percent. Sporton added that it was not clear if the government’s push for solar energy would result in sustainable projects considering that power tariffs had declined sharply. “It’s now getting to the point where it’s quite difficult to make money out of investing in solar,” he said.
The government aims to increase solar power generation capacity to nearly 30 times by 2022 and will require at least $125 billion to fund its plan to increase the share of renewable power supply.