World’s largest coal miner to invest $1.2 billion in solar power

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Coal India in talks with Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) for the development of 1,000MW solar power plants.

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CleanTechnica

The Indian government continues to push proliferation of solar power through publicly owned companies, this time through the world’s largest coal mining company – Coal India Limited.

Coal_mine_in_Dhanbad_India-570x336
A coal mine in Dhanbad, India

Coal India is planning to develop solar power plants across various states of India. According to media reports, the company is in talks with Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) for the development of 1,000MW solar power plants. The site identification for putting up of solar plants has already been initiated. Coal India will undertake investments of $1.2 billion for this initiative.

Coal companies are always under pressure from various environmental groups to source their coal in a more ethical and environmentally friendly way to cut pollution. The situation of Coal India Limited is, however, somewhat better than the other coal companies of the world in terms of overall carbon footprint. Though being criticized for consistently failing to meet India’s annual coal production targets, Coal India is known for its sound environmental policies to keep check on greenhouse gas emissions in its production process.

Recently, another Indian coal mining company – Neyveli Lignite Corporation – announced its plans to invest $80 million to develop 80MW of wind and solar power capacity.

The current initiative of Coal India would also definitely help the country to reach Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s plan to provide electricity to all homes and industrial units round-the-clock with an investment target of $100 billion in renewable energy including solar and wind.

Another reason for promotion of renewable energy infrastructure, especially solar power projects, through government-owned companies is the leverage to use domestically manufactured solar photovoltaic (PV) modules and equipment. Some specific clauses in the WTO agreements to subsidize solar power projects by the army, railways, and public sector enterprises. As per the plan drawn up by the government, the Indian army and public sector companies will set up 1,000MW solar PV projects each. The government is planning to promote the use of domestically manufactured equipment following its decision not to impose anti-dumping duties on imported equipment.

In July this year, India had doubled the tax on every metric ton of coal mined or imported in the country. The revenue generated from the coal tax would finance the National Clean Energy Fund (NCEF) which would be utilised for the development of renewable energy projects, environmental projects and research and development projects.

 

Source: CleanTechnica. Reproduced with permission.

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5 Comments
  1. Glen S 5 years ago

    I wonder what Adani directors are thinking about all of this with their aspirations to try and make one of the worlds biggest coal mines here to export to India. The market is working against them in every way. Great to see such momentum in renewables.

    • Alen 5 years ago

      The Indian Supreme court recently cancelled the majority of coal mining licenses within the country due to these being orgininally awarded illegally, now until these companies manage to complete their new bidding process and win their respective licenses back, there will be a significant coal demand increase from outside countries and I’m assuming a big jump in coal prices. I can just see Abbott/Newman twisting this to again push for the Galilee project, but I’m hopeful financiers realise this price increase is only temporarily until the mines over there open again and more domestic (and cheaper) supply reaches the market there. Since this indicates coal is at an essential stand-still over there, I wonder if in the gap-period the Renewable sector in India will experience a ‘boom’ and as a result transform the energy-electricity sector permanently away from coal? -or at least create a large enough and sustained momentum that it will become the next China (investment wise) in RE

  2. maw56disqus 5 years ago

    They could put the panels in the exhausted open coal pits…
    But seriously I can see a company realising it is an energy company first, and rename itself “Energy India”.

  3. Ronald Brakels 5 years ago

    An interesting thing about Indian coal is that is that it tends to be so utterly shoddy that at current low prices India is probably better off importing Australian coal for its coastal power stations than using domestic supplies, particularly if the domestic coal has to be transported by rail any distance. Air quality in Indian cities is generally hideous, worse than China, and many cities, as in China, are at risk of mass deaths from smog as happened in 1952 in London from pollution (perhaps 12,000 dead) but on an much larger scale. Transporting bulky, low quality coal by rail is expensive as is pollution control equipment for coal power plants and reducing coal use by households and industry can be difficult. Letting people die and children have their development stunted from pollution is a crime, or at least should be. This will not save Australia’s coal industry, it will just help make its decline less abrupt.

  4. Miles Harding 5 years ago

    Add to this, the other plank of the “Saffron Revolution”, that of small (micro?) scale solar for Indian households that have only ever had candles at night and the prospects for selling Aussie coal to India looks even more dim.

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