Coal and Energy Security

India plans to reduce emission intensity of GDP by 45% and aims at generating 500 GW of Renewable Energy from installed capacity by 2030. But India’s energy security has to be met from external sources as more than 85% of petroleum requirements are still imported. Coal, by installed capacity, till date generates 50% of the electricity in India. And 10% of India’s coal is imported. Along with meeting the climate change goals of the future, we may have to generate electricity from coal for the next 2 decades unless there is a new discovery of energy sources or some innovative development in the energy sector in India. The continual integration of renewable energy plants poses grid challenges and hence we have to rely on conventional sources to meet the energy deficits created by intermittent generation . Though we have provided must run status to renewable energy based generations, we should consider life cycle emission of these power plants before planning the phasing out of coal-based generation. Moreover to take the share of renewable from 42%+ to 70%+ would take time. However a switch from coal to natural gas reduces emission intensity by half while keeping the energy security intact. And this may help our future planning.

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