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Indian government won't consider proposals for new coal plants, will focus on growing renewable energy sector

The Indian government will not consider any proposals for new coal plants for the next five years and focus on growing its renewables sector, according to an updated national electricity plan released Wednesday evening.

The temporary pause in the growth of the dirty fuel was hailed by energy experts as a positive step for a country that is currently reliant on coal for around 75% of its electricity.

Updated every five years, the plan serves as a guideline for India’s priorities in its electricity sector.

India is the world’s third highest emitter and most populous country. It plans to reach net zero emissions by 2070, which would mean significantly slashing coal use and ramping up renewable energy.

“This plan is a step in the right direction,” said Raghav Pachouri, an energy sector expert at Vasudha Foundation, a New Delhi-based think tank.

Pachouri said one reason the plans for new coal might have been scrapped is because there are already some coal plants under construction.

Farmer Pravinbhai Parmar

Farmer Pravinbhai Parmar cleans a solar panel installed at a farm in Dhundi village of Kheda district in Gujarat state, India, on Jan. 13, 2023.  (AP Photo/Ajit Solanki, File)

The country is also experiencing longer summers and hotter weather in part due to climate change, meaning greater electricity demand during the scorching day, making it easier to fulfill energy needs with renewables, said Pachouri.

“We’re installing only up to 17 gigawatts a year, this needs to increase to 40 to 45 gigawatts to meet targets,” said Lolla.

The new plan goes on to project that new coal power will be built after 2027, but Lolla says this should be taken with a pinch of salt.


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