Let’s do a quick intro:
India, with huge estimated coal reserves of 315 billion tonnes is the 5th largest in the world. Hence the usage of coal (which is a fossil fuel) for power generation becomes inevitable in India. Added to these reserves, every year India imports a lot of coal due to several factors. However, there are various concerns if this trend continues.
Although a Non Renewable source of energy and it takes millions of years to regenerate the reserves of coal, still it is used in immense quantities mainly for power generation by generation companies. Coal India Limited(CIL) being a public sector has a majority hand in the mining of the coal as a fossil fuel.
But recently cabinet has approved for the promulgation of an ordinance for opening up the coal mining to private sectors. This move sounding to create doubts in the mind of citizens as it is in contrast to the Government’s target of Renewables energy generation of 227GW(113GW by Solar,66GW by wind) by 2022.
Because bringing in private players will bring in technology infusion in the mining sector. It will in turn increase the coal output and will lead to an increase in the Coal based Thermal power plants production.So in any way the increase in energy production through coal will prove detrimental to the focus on renewables.
In 2017 NITI Aayog’s National Energy Policy projects that by 2047 the coal based power production will double despite the competition from renewable sources and technologies.
The big concern is the environmental implications. 60% of Particulate Matter 2.5 is from coal-based power plants. 1.08kg Of Greenhouse gas emitted for every 1 unit of power produced. The global climate change concerns and pieces of evidence witnessed through Australian Bush fires recently has repeatedly given the warning alarms. Opening up the mining will add to the worries in India.
The solution will be in the hands of renewable energy(solar, wind, small hydro) and nuclear-based sectors. By incentivising the sector and easing the hurdles- so that renewable industry will be able to achieve the set goal and contribute to the growing energy needs. Subsequently, the coal as a fossil fuel shall be phased out.