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India’s vast coal reserves could remain unused in future, thanks to the expected mega shift towards clean energy generation sector, the country’s power, coal, renewable energy and mines minister Piyush Goyal said.
“In the evolving world energy scenario, it is quite possible that India’s coal reserves remain unused in the times to come as we would be shifting towards cleaner energy technologies like solar and wind, among others,” Goyal said, speaking at a media event here.
He added the policies followed by the previous government have led to wastage of precious foreign exchange reserves over the years in importing coal and feeding domestic power plants, overlooking the reserves the country has.
Goyal said the country has seen a huge ramp up in the production of domestic coal in the last 3 years -- to the tune of more than 100 MT -- but the quantity of coal produced this year is less as compared to the previous two years. The country has the ability to produce more coal but it is held back by market forces and that means India will have sufficient coal in coming years and imports would not rise, he added.
The coal ministry is currently working on a plan to increase the share of domestic coal that can be blended with the imported variety to cut down imports, the minister informed. Also, the power ministry has pursuaded the Tamil Nadu government to source domestic coal for the upcoming imported coal-based Cheyyur Ultra Mega Power Project, he said.
In order to increase the efficiency of power plants, the coal ministry is discussing the idea of implementing third-party sampling with domestic coal companies. “On 5 April, the Ministry is holding a Quality Conference with all the coal companies and technical experts of the sector to lay down a strategy to ensure right quality of coal is supplied to our power plants and help them achieve higher efficiency rates,” Goyal announced.
India’s installed solar power generation capacity crossed 10,000 Megawatt this month, four times the capacity three years ago, and would cross the 20,000 Mark in the 15 months, the minister said. He also said the Industry must be encouraged to ramp up the silicon wafer and solar cells manufacturing capacity.
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