The Indian coal sector requires international support for advanced coal technologies in the country – because coal has been identified as playing a critical role in the country’s economic development.
This is according to World Coal Association chief executive Benjamin Sporton who was speaking at a conference in New Delhi recently.
“India has made it very clear that coal will be critical to delivering its economic development and energy access objectives. India is working hard to reduce emissions from coal, but it would benefit from greater international support to build modern coal technology,” Sporton said.
Speaking at the 6th World PetroCoal Congress, a gathering of leaders from across the fossil fuel industry in India, Sporton highlighted that power generation capacity from coal will more than double between now and 2040.
“Coal will help fuel the economic development of India’s economy as it urbanises and industrialises over the decades to come. With 300 million people currently living without access to electricity and many more – including businesses that can help drive growth – suffering from intermittent supply, coal will do much of the heavy lifting in powering up India’s economy,” Sporton said.
Reflecting on the WCA’s recent report, India’s Energy Trilemma, Sporton noted that modern high efficiency low emission coal technologies will be essential to providing affordable electricity while reducing emissions to meet climate objectives.
“Our research shows that while renewable technologies such as solar PV in India could result in high emission abatement, they do not provide the scale of generation growth required to meet electrification targets.”
“Modern high efficiency coal plants can actually abate carbon emissions at a much lower cost compared to solar PV and provide almost four times as much increase in power generation,” Mr Sporton.
“All forms of electricity will have a role to play in India, indeed non-hydro renewables are forecast to grow almost exponentially – but our analysis shows the huge co-benefits of building modern coal plants. It’s for that reason that the World Coal Association believes there must be more international support for high efficiency low emission coal technology,” Sporton said.
Noting recent developments in international coal financing policy, particularly with more restrictive positions from the World Bank and OECD, Sporton concluded:
“The international community needs to be taking an approach that helps deploy the most efficient coal in place of the least efficient coal technology, rather than just ignoring the reality that coal will play a very significant role in industrialising and urbanising economies like India.”